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Late burst keeps Colorado unbeaten on the season

02/18/2012, 7:26pm EST
By Jace Frederick, Minnesota Swarm beat writer for NLL.com

Mammoth now 6-0 after scoring five late goals in 12-7 win over Minnesota

Colorado broke the game against Minnesota open late to win 12-7. Photo Credit: Scott Pierson

The Colorado Mammoth rode strong performances from two of their All-Stars Saturday night and remained unbeaten with a 12-7 win over the Minnesota Swarm at the Xcel Energy Center.

NLL scoring leader John Grant Jr. led the Mammoth (6-0) with four goals and three assists. He also contributed the highlight of the night with a behind-the-back shot that found the back of the net in the fourth quarter and put the Mammoth up 10-7.

“Outstanding,” said Colorado coach Bob Hamley. “He is John Grant for a reason. He (is) a big time player. When you need the big goals and the big assists he is there. His leadership has been outstanding this year and the guys have been following suit.”

Minnesota tied the game in the fourth quarter at 7-7 on a goal from Andrew Watt with 12:12 remaining in the game. However, the Mammoth scored the final five goals of the game.

“They had a couple of big goals there and that’s our offense’s job to respond to that and we didn’t,” said Minnesota All-Star forward Callum Crawford.

Crawford had three assists while fellow All-Star forward Ryan Benesch chipped in with a goal and two assists.

Minnesota’s scoring output was its lowest this season.

“We were lazy. We were flat-footed. They didn’t do anything they were supposed to do or were asked to do. (Colorado) didn’t shut us down, we shut ourselves down,” said Swarm coach Mike Lines.

Colorado goaltender Chris Levis played a role in Minnesota’s offensive struggles. Levis stopped 40 of the 47 shots he faced.

“The last two games he has been tracking the ball unbelievably. He’s been awesome. The D and (Levis) were able to keep us in the game and in the fourth quarter we were able to put it away,” said Mammoth forward Sean Pollock.

Pollock provided a spark for the Colorado offense, netting two goals and contributing three assists. His goal with 5:22 to play put the Mammoth ahead for good.

“When you’re in the middle of things and you’re getting the ball your way you’ve got to do something with it,” said Pollock.

This was the first loss at home this season for the Swarm (3-3), who sit alone at third in the West Division. Minnesota begins a four-game road trip Friday night in Washington.

Saturday’s win may be the most satisfying of the season for Colorado.

“It feels great. We’re happy but we know that there is a lot of work to be done. We have to work for 60 minutes and we did that tonight. That’s how you win games,” Hamley said.

The Mammoth will try to head into the All-Star break with a seven straight wins as they meet Calgary on Friday night in Denver.

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