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Mammoth hope for another big start again this year

01/08/2013, 11:30am EST
By Nick Salen, Mammoth beat writer for NLL.com

Colorado hosts Washington (1-0) for season opener on Saturday


The Colorado Mammoth, featuring 2012 NLL MVP John Grant, Jr. and a talented supporting cast, open their 2013 NLL season at home against the Washington Stealth on Saturday night. (Photo: Michael Martin)

Following a late season slump to end their 2012 campaign, the Colorado Mammoth look to open big once again in their 2013 National Lacrosse League regular season opener when they host the Washington Stealth (1-0) at Pepsi Center in Denver on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 9 p.m. ET.

Fans can watch this and every other NLL game all season long on The Lacrosse Network on YouTube. The game will also be broadcast live on Altitude2.

2012 began on a high note for Colorado, rolling atop the West Division by starting with an 8-1 record. In a blink of an eye, the team dropped three of six to end the season before an early exit from the playoffs. Rebounding early on with a tally in the win column is on every player’s mind, especially after a successful training camp.

“Everybody is excited about their team, and we’re no different,” said Mammoth head coach Bob Hamley. “We had a great camp, very competitive. We’ve added five or six new faces to a squad that went 11-5 in the regular season last year. We’re excited just like everyone else is. Fortunately for us, we get to play in front of our home fans right off the hop, which is great.”

Highlighted by 2012 NLL MVP John Grant Jr., Colorado returns to action with 17 players from last season’s roster. Combined with their offseason acquisitions, the team looks to limit mistakes in key areas that cost them down the stretch just one year ago.

“We had great strides last year but we came up short,” Grant said. “We’re looking forward to continuing forward and getting better this year.”

Grant led the team in all offensive categories last season, and will be a key person of interest as always according to Washington head coach Chris Hall. Returning alongside Grant is 2012 Rookie of the Year Adam Jones, who capped off a stellar first year by finishing second on the team in goals. The duo helped pave the way for a Mammoth offense that topped the league in scoring last year with 217 goals. Colorado solidified its offensive prowess in the offseason acquiring first-round pick Colton Clark, as well as Joel Dalgarno, who missed all of last season.

Colorado also bolstered its transition game, an area that bogged the team’s offensive success, with the acquisition of veteran Richard Morgan and rookie Jaeden Gastaldo.  On defense, Matt Roik will back up goaltender Chris Levis between the pipes. The new faces look to sync quickly with team veterans on the floor, making necessary adjustments to tilt those extra few possessions into points and W’s in the standings.

“This year we have a better grasp of where we are at,” Hamley added. “Obviously there are still a couple young guys that have made the club that we will get to see in the next few weeks.  We’re a confident group just like everyone else is this time of season.”

Washington comes into Saturday’s matchup after a thrilling 13-12 victory over the NLL champion Rochester Knighthawks in the NLL opening game. Forward Cliff Smith finished as the game’s MVP with eight points (3+5). 

The two teams split their home-and-home matchups last year, as the home team won both times by three or fewer goals.

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