The Colorado Mammoth (1-1) erased a four-goal deficit in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter before Sean Pollock scored the game-winning goal in overtime to beat the Calgary Roughnecks (0-2) by a score of 13-12 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night.
Mammoth forward and 2012 National Lacrosse League MVP John Grant, Jr. scored six goals, often referred to as a "sock trick," and finished with a game-high eight points (6+2) while teammate Gavin Prout recorded seven points (1+6).
“When you get a guy like Grant Jr. getting six or seven goals, it’s going to be a tough night for us," said Roughnecks forward Scott Ranger. "We've got to eliminate those opportunities.”
Roughnecks forward Shawn Evans made the most of his opportunities by recording a team-high seven points (4+3) in the losing effort.
“If you’re not a lacrosse fan, you sure missed a game tonight," said Mammoth head coach Bob Hamley. “Very happy to get the 'W'. We got some timely goals and some momentum at the end which we are thankful for.”
Both teams were coming off of a loss in their first game and had something to prove. Seven different Roughnecks scored first-half goals while Grant, Jr. kept his team within striking distance early with a hat trick in the second quarter as Calgary led 7-4 at halftime.
Grant, Jr. scored his fourth goal of the night less than a minute into the second half before Calgary's Evans got his hat trick with two goals in the third quarter. Grant added his fifth goal of the night but the Roughnecks still held an 11-8 lead after 45 minutes.
Calgary’s Jeff Shattler added to the lead to make it 12-7, but Colorado responded with four late goals in the final five minutes to force overtime. Grant scored his sixth of the night with 4:17 left, Jordan McBride scored a minute later and Gavin Prout a minute after that, before Adam Jones tied the game at 12-12 with 1:20 left.
Roughnecks goaltender Mike Poulin, 2012 NLL Goaltender of the Year, made two crucial saves, the second of which was a desperation save on a shot by Grant, Jr., in the final seconds of regulation to force overtime.
“Poulin stood on his head tonight," Evans said simply.
With all the momentum, the Mammoth dominated play in OT, with numerous scoring chances before Pollock netted the winner 6:02 into the extra session.
“[Colorado] wanted it more," said Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky. "They battled in the trenches, it was an inopportune time for our mistakes. There’s lots of lacrosse left. These are a resilient bunch of guys.”
Mammoth starting goaltender Chris Levis left the game with a lower-body injury and Matt Roik came on in relief. Levis made six saves on 12 shots while Roik got the win with 29 stops on 35 shots. Poulin carried the Roughnecks and finished with 41 saves on 54 shots in the losing effort.
“Fabulous," said Roughnecks forward Dane Dobbie when asked about Poulin's play. “He's holding us in there and makes saves at the right times. He's playing awesome lacrosse and hopefully he can keep it up."
Calgary took some untimely penalties which led Malawsky to bench some of his best players with a strong message.
“I stick to my guns when it comes to discipline," he said. "I took minutes away from impact guys. Lessons are being learned on the discipline side of it.”
The two teams will go right back at it next weekend when they play each other on Friday, Jan. 25, this time at 9 p.m. ET at Pepsi Center in Colorado. The Roughnecks will then travel to Philadelphia to take on the Wings on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 4 p.m. ET at Wells Fargo Center.
Photo Credit: Jason Johnson.