Colorado Mammoth goalie Dan Lewis could win the starting job after being signed during the season. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
With a similar roster to the one that went 11-5 in 2012, it’s surprising that the Colorado Mammoth have a 2-5 record this year and have already matched their loss total from all of last season. With the defense struggling, changes have been made recently, specifically between the pipes.
Colorado’s goaltending carousel continued earlier this week with the release of Matt Roik and activation of Tye Belanger from the Physically Unable to Perform list. When veteran Chris Levis was released earlier this season, second-year netminder Dan Lewis, who spent some time with the team over the last two years, was brought back by the Mammoth. All of the sudden, Lewis is now the favorite to win the starting job.
"It’s been great to be in Colorado for the short time I’ve been in the league,” said Lewis early last week. “They’ve been really good both years. Having two veteran goalies that have been able to talk to me has worked out well. This year has been a bit of a different story, but the guys seem to be coming together.”
The Coquitlam, British Columbia native was drafted by the Washington Stealth in 2011, but was released prior to the regular season before being picked up by Colorado. Lewis made his NLL debut in 2012, but only posted 9:40 of playing time during a blowout loss to Calgary. Since then, he was signed as a free agent in Week #4 this year to compete with Matt Roik for the job. Lewis had begun to split time in net with Roik and now seems poised to take on a bigger role.
In three appearances this season, Lewis has posted a .800 save percentage in just over 70 total minutes played. He hinted that landing back in Denver this year for a second chance was the best thing he could have hoped for.
"I love it. I love this city, I love being here,” Lewis said. “When I got re-signed, I had a huge smile on my face, I couldn’t wait to get down here. Getting into my first game, I was nerve-racked. I didn’t know what to think. Lucky enough, we were able to come out with a win and the guys held it together. The city loves their team and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world."
Most distinguishable about Lewis is his choice of equipment. Rather than a traditional box helmet, he chooses to sport a field lacrosse helmet, which commonly has less protection.
“I’m from Vancouver so I grew up playing [field],” Lewis said. “I was actually playing box before I was playing field. I just like the field helmet because I feel it offers a protection level that I like. The trainers have worked and got some stuff in my helmet, but I love those helmets.”
Whether it be as the starter or backup in net, his goal remains the same as everyone else’s in the burgundy uniform.
“I want us to get to the playoffs and there's no reason we can’t compete for a Champion's Cup,” Lewis said. “But at this point, we’ve got to take it one game at a time and build from there.”