There is a new single-season scoring leader the National Lacrosse League.
John Grant Jr. eclipsed John Tavares’ long-standing record in the Colorado Mammoth’s 16-13 loss to the Minnesota Swarm on Saturday night at the Xcel Energy Center.
Grant came into the game needing six points to break Tavares’ mark of 115 points set with Buffalo in 2001. Grant netted the history-making point by beating rookie Tyler Carlson for his second goal of the game - and 50th of the season - with 4:22 to play.
“It’s awesome, we’re very proud of John,” said Mammoth head coach Bob Hamley, “It’s been really nice to be on he side and see what he’s come up with. He is a pleasure to be around in the dressing room, on the floor, and off the floor. He’s been great for the Mammoth all year.”
Grant appreciated the honor, but was disappointed with the final result.
“It’s cool to be recognized, but I’m more focused on the playoffs at this point. We didn’t do what we were set out to do tonight,” he said after the Mammoth dropped their second in a row. “It was a big momentum game. To say it’s a nothing game, there’s no such thing in this league. We came out a little flat and they were fired up.”
Ryan Benesch had three goals and four assists and Joel Henry recorded his first career hat trick for Minnesota (9-7), which has won four straight and will face Colorado (11-5) in a Western Division Semifinal next Saturday night at Denver’s Pepsi Center.
“We really wanted to make sure we went into (the playoffs) with as much momentum as we possibly could. To generate a win against a team that had only lost four times this year prior to (Saturday), it’s a big thing,” said Swarm head coach and associate general manager Joe Sullivan.
Minnesota had things clicking early and often to take a 9-4 lead at halftime. Henry scored all of his goals in the opening 30 minutes.
“It’s a good feeling to finally get a hat trick out of the way. I have been struggling to score goals all year, so that was nice,” said Henry.
Colorado came out hot in the second half as they outscored Minnesota 5-1 in the first 12:20 to cut the deficit to 10-8. The Swarm then answered with a 5-0 run capped by a Jordan MacIntosh goal with 9:17 to go in the fourth that stretched the lead to 15-8.
“We’re a resilient bunch of guys from the top down,” said Sullivan. “We gave up eight (goals) in the second half, not what we wanted to do, but we still got the win and we reached our goal. The team set a goal at 9-7 and we got there. We couldn’t be happier.”
Colorado goaltender Chris Levis had a long night as he stopped just 30 of 43 shots and was pulled twice during the game for Tye Belanger. He turned away seven of 10 shots.
“We have to play much better next week,” Grant said.
Carlson turned away 42 of 55 shots for Minnesota.
Hamley said he expects captain Gavin Prout, who’s missed the last two games with an undisclosed injury, to play next week against the Swarm. Prout is second on the Mammoth with 61 assists and 83 points.