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WK
1
Fri, Dec 2
FINAL
Philadelphia
8
Halifax
18
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
Vancouver
8
Toronto
19
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
San Diego
15
New York
14
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
Albany
11
Buffalo
10
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
Rochester
16
Georgia
11
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
Colorado
6
Saskatchewan
18
WK
2
Fri, Dec 9
20:30:00
Las Vegas
Panther City
Fri, Dec 9
22:00:00
Saskatchewan
San Diego
Sat, Dec 10
19:00:00
Toronto
Rochester
Sat, Dec 10
21:30:00
Vancouver
Calgary
WK
3
Fri, Dec 16
22:00:00
Calgary
Vancouver
Fri, Dec 16
22:30:00
Panther City
Las Vegas
Sat, Dec 17
19:00:00
Buffalo
Toronto
Sat, Dec 17
19:00:00
Rochester
Albany
Sat, Dec 17
19:00:00
Philadelphia
Georgia
Sat, Dec 17
19:30:00
Halifax
New York
Sat, Dec 17
20:00:00
Colorado
Panther City
WK
5
Fri, Dec 30
19:30:00
Halifax
Buffalo
Fri, Dec 30
21:00:00
San Diego
Calgary
Sat, Dec 31
21:00:00
Panther City
Saskatchewan
WK
6
Fri, Jan 6
22:30:00
Philadelphia
Las Vegas
Sat, Jan 7
19:00:00
Panther City
Rochester
Sat, Jan 7
19:00:00
Halifax
Albany
Sat, Jan 7
19:00:00
Buffalo
Georgia
Sat, Jan 7
19:30:00
Toronto
New York
Sat, Jan 7
22:00:00
Calgary
Colorado
Sat, Jan 7
22:00:00
Vancouver
San Diego
WK
7
Fri, Jan 13
18:30:00
Albany
Halifax
Fri, Jan 13
21:00:00
Saskatchewan
Colorado
Sat, Jan 14
19:00:00
Halifax
Toronto
Sat, Jan 14
19:00:00
Panther City
Philadelphia
Sat, Jan 14
19:30:00
Georgia
Buffalo
Sat, Jan 14
21:00:00
San Diego
Calgary
Sat, Jan 14
22:00:00
Las Vegas
Vancouver
Sun, Jan 15
15:00:00
Rochester
New York
WK
8
Fri, Jan 20
19:30:00
Buffalo
Rochester
Fri, Jan 20
22:30:00
Vancouver
Las Vegas
Sat, Jan 21
19:00:00
New York
Albany
Sat, Jan 21
19:00:00
Toronto
Philadelphia
WK
9
Fri, Jan 27
18:00:00
Rochester
Halifax
Fri, Jan 27
19:00:00
Buffalo
Philadelphia
Sat, Jan 28
19:30:00
Buffalo
New York
Sat, Jan 28
20:30:00
Las Vegas
Saskatchewan
Sat, Jan 28
21:00:00
Toronto
Calgary
Sat, Jan 28
21:00:00
San Diego
Colorado
Sat, Jan 28
22:00:00
Panther City
Vancouver
WK
10
Fri, Feb 3
21:00:00
Georgia
Colorado
Sat, Feb 4
18:00:00
Calgary
Halifax
Sat, Feb 4
19:00:00
New York
Toronto
Sat, Feb 4
19:00:00
Albany
Philadelphia
Sat, Feb 4
19:30:00
Rochester
Buffalo
Sat, Feb 4
22:00:00
Panther City
San Diego
Sat, Feb 4
22:00:00
Saskatchewan
Vancouver
Sat, Feb 4
22:30:00
Colorado
Las Vegas
WK
11
Fri, Feb 10
19:30:00
Toronto
Georgia
Fri, Feb 10
21:00:00
Saskatchewan
Calgary
Sat, Feb 11
19:00:00
Halifax
Rochester
Sat, Feb 11
19:30:00
Albany
New York
Sat, Feb 11
20:00:00
Vancouver
Panther City
Sat, Feb 11
21:00:00
Colorado
Calgary
WK
12
Fri, Feb 17
22:00:00
Saskatchewan
San Diego
Fri, Feb 17
22:00:00
Calgary
Vancouver
Sat, Feb 18
19:00:00
Georgia
Toronto
Sat, Feb 18
19:00:00
Las Vegas
Albany
Sat, Feb 18
19:30:00
Philadelphia
Buffalo
Sat, Feb 18
20:00:00
Colorado
Panther City
Sun, Feb 19
13:00:00
New York
Halifax
WK
13
Fri, Feb 24
21:00:00
Panther City
Colorado
Fri, Feb 24
22:30:00
Calgary
Las Vegas
Sat, Feb 25
19:00:00
New York
Rochester
Sat, Feb 25
19:00:00
Albany
Georgia
Sat, Feb 25
20:00:00
Vancouver
Saskatchewan
WK
14
Fri, Mar 3
18:30:00
Buffalo
Halifax
Sat, Mar 4
11:30:00
New York
Philadelphia
Sat, Mar 4
16:00:00
Las Vegas
San Diego
Sat, Mar 4
19:00:00
Rochester
Toronto
Sat, Mar 4
19:00:00
Georgia
Albany
Sat, Mar 4
20:00:00
Saskatchewan
Panther City
Mon, Mar 6
19:00:00
Toronto
Philadelphia
WK
15
Fri, Mar 10
19:30:00
Halifax
Buffalo
Fri, Mar 10
21:00:00
Calgary
Colorado
Sat, Mar 11
19:00:00
Albany
Toronto
Sat, Mar 11
19:30:00
Philadelphia
New York
Sat, Mar 11
20:30:00
San Diego
Saskatchewan
Sat, Mar 11
22:30:00
Vancouver
Las Vegas
Sun, Mar 12
16:00:00
Rochester
Georgia
WK
16
Fri, Mar 17
21:00:00
Saskatchewan
Calgary
Fri, Mar 17
22:00:00
San Diego
Vancouver
Sat, Mar 18
11:00:00
Georgia
Philadelphia
Sat, Mar 18
18:00:00
Toronto
Halifax
Sat, Mar 18
19:30:00
Albany
New York
Sat, Mar 18
19:30:00
Colorado
Buffalo
Sat, Mar 18
20:00:00
Las Vegas
Panther City
Sun, Mar 19
15:00:00
Philadelphia
Rochester
WK
17
Fri, Mar 24
20:30:00
San Diego
Panther City
Sat, Mar 25
19:00:00
Toronto
Albany
Sat, Mar 25
19:00:00
Halifax
Philadelphia
Sat, Mar 25
19:30:00
Georgia
New York
Sat, Mar 25
21:30:00
Calgary
Saskatchewan
Sat, Mar 25
22:00:00
Buffalo
San Diego
Sat, Mar 25
22:00:00
Colorado
Vancouver
Sat, Mar 25
22:30:00
Rochester
Las Vegas
WK
18
Fri, Mar 31
20:00:00
New York
Georgia
Fri, Mar 31
21:00:00
Las Vegas
Colorado
Fri, Mar 31
22:00:00
Calgary
San Diego
Sat, Apr 1
19:00:00
Buffalo
Toronto
Sat, Apr 1
20:00:00
Albany
Panther City
Sat, Apr 1
21:30:00
Vancouver
Saskatchewan
Sun, Apr 2
13:00:00
Georgia
Halifax
Sun, Apr 2
18:00:00
Rochester
Philadelphia
WK
19
Sat, Apr 8
19:00:00
Albany
Rochester
Sat, Apr 8
19:00:00
Saskatchewan
Georgia
Sat, Apr 8
21:00:00
Panther City
Calgary
Sat, Apr 8
21:00:00
Vancouver
Colorado
Sat, Apr 8
22:30:00
San Diego
Las Vegas
WK
20
Fri, Apr 14
21:00:00
Las Vegas
Calgary
Fri, Apr 14
21:00:00
San Diego
Colorado
Sat, Apr 15
19:00:00
Philadelphia
Toronto
Sat, Apr 15
19:00:00
Georgia
Albany
Sat, Apr 15
19:30:00
New York
Buffalo
Sat, Apr 15
21:30:00
Halifax
Saskatchewan
Sat, Apr 15
22:00:00
Panther City
Vancouver
WK
21
Fri, Apr 21
20:30:00
Calgary
Panther City
Sat, Apr 22
18:00:00
New York
Halifax
Sat, Apr 22
19:00:00
Georgia
Rochester
Sat, Apr 22
20:00:00
Toronto
Buffalo
Sat, Apr 22
21:30:00
Colorado
Saskatchewan
Sat, Apr 22
22:00:00
Las Vegas
San Diego
Sun, Apr 23
15:00:00
Philadelphia
Albany
WK
22
Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
Philadelphia
Rochester
Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
Buffalo
Albany
Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
Halifax
Georgia
Sat, Apr 29
22:00:00
Colorado
San Diego
Sat, Apr 29
22:00:00
New York
Vancouver
Sat, Apr 29
22:30:00
Saskatchewan
Las Vegas
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Stories/Op-Ed

Battle Tested Mammoth Face Fresh Bandits Squad

Through Week 8 both teams have had varying schedules to work with

Heading into Week 9, the Colorado Mammoth (4-3) will host the Buffalo Bandits (3-1) on Saturday, January 25. Through the NLL seasons first eight weeks, Colorado has played the most games in the league at seven whereas Buffalo is tied for the least amount of games played at four. As it stands, Colorado is tied with Saskatchewan for first in the West whereas Buffalo is Halifax in the North but remain only 1.5 games behind leading the division with a game in hand.

There will be an argument to be made on Saturday about how schedule could play into an early season matchup like this against unfamiliar foes. Colorado has had the opportunity to get more game experience and to mesh stronger as a unit, which is crucial with as many rookies and new players joining the team this season. For Buffalo, their legs will be rested and with having as much time as they have had off, they will want to start fast.

Colorado comes into the game over what some would consider a successful weekend in Week 8, having a doubleheader in Vancouver and in Saskatchewan where the Mammoth lost a low scoring affair to Vancouver on Friday but came back Saturday night to win in convincing fashion against the Rush. The quick turnaround was good for the Mammoth to get the sour taste out of their mouths immediately from Friday’s loss to Vancouver and head into this weekend’s game with some momentum on their side.

In Friday’s game versus Vancouver, the Mammoth got the early lead at 1-0 but once the Warriors tied and eventually took the lead Colorado was unable to regain momentum. Looking at all stats outside the score, it would have looked like the Mammoth would have had the advantage. Colorado outshot Vancouver, recovered more loose balls, committed less penalties, and having won versus Vancouver at the beginning of January the tides would have felt to be in the Mammoth’s favor. Credit goes to Vancouver for making the Mammoth take difficult shots and almost using Colorado’s own game plan against them with stingy defense, great goaltending and taking opportunities on good looks on the offensive end. The Mammoth would eventually lose 5-7 in the lowest scoring game of the NLL season so far.

As mentioned, the Mammoth got their chance to rebound by playing in Saskatchewan on Saturday night. For Mammoth fans, the game started off in the worst way possible with Ryan Keenan burying a goal 0:35 into the first quarter to start a 3-0 run for the Rush in the first five minutes of the game. After the Rush got to 3-0, two of which came on the powerplay from illegal substitution calls on the Mammoth, it was Colorado’s game. Chris Wardle got the Mammoth on the board for their first goal of the game and was a frequent name on the box score scoring five goals on the night, tying his career high which was also at Saskatchewan in 2017. By halftime the Mammoth took a commanding 7-4 lead, including outscoring the Rush 5-0 in the second quarter. The momentum would stick with the Mammoth in the second half as first round pick in the 2019 NLL Entry Draft Warren Jeffrey netted the first goal of his career. Colorado outscored Saskatchewan 5-2 in the second half, which included a late goal by Saskatchewan’s Jeff Shattler with three and a half minutes left when the game seemed all but over. Multiple Mammoth players had big bounce back games. Dillon Ward made 53 saves on 59 shots, including 19 in the fourth quarter. Ryan Lee finished with seven points (1g, 6a), Eli McLaughlin looked like his old self again with seven points as well (3g, 4a) as well as aforementioned Chris Wardle. The Mammoth knew they had a big weekend with the possibility of taking two crucial division matchups but was able to salvage the weekend by going 1-1.

For Buffalo, the season has started slow mainly to the off and on schedule although they have maintained a 3-1 record, second in the North Division. They had four byes in eight weeks, so they are wanting to maintain some consistency in their preparations. Buffalo has a win across all three division, having beaten San Diego from the West, Georgia from the East and Toronto in the North. Their lone loss came to the undefeated Halifax Thunderbirds. Last week Buffalo got their win against Toronto in a North Division matchup at home in Banditland. A close affair throughout saw the Bandits winning eventually 10-8 including an empty netter with less than a minute remaining to seal the game. Lacrosse is a game of runs and Buffalo had the best of the night in the second quarter, scoring five in a span of 10 minutes to take the lead from Toronto. Matt Vinc looked like a goalie who has won the NLL Goaltender of the Year award seven times, having saved 54 shots out of 62. Rob Hellyer from the Rock was the only one who could consistently put the ball past Vinc, having scored five on the night. For the Buffalo offense, Josh Byrne and Chase Fraser led the charge with three goals each. Dhane Smith had a quite night by his standards only recording three assists on the night. Newly signed Garrett Billings made his Bandit debut and recorded one assist.

Having only played four games on the year, Buffalo doesn’t have many leaders in statistical categories by totals although they are third in the NLL in total penalty minutes at 76 minutes. To compare Colorado has committed 72 minutes of penalties in three extra games played. The Bandits have scored 49 goals which ranks 5th in the NLL in goals per game at 12.25 whereas the Mammoth are at 9.7 goals per game. Buffalo is last in the NLL at faceoffs at 35.2%, the Mammoth have faired a bit better at 45.6%. Both teams have played Halifax which lowered their percentage severely as the Thunderbirds rank first in the league at over 75%.

The key battle will be in net as Dillon Ward who is making a strong case for NLL Goalie of the Year is playing seven-time award winner Matt Vinc. Ward is leading the league in minutes and has missed only nine seconds of action this season. His 8.5 goals against average and 83.7 save percentage is second among goalies who have played at least 200 minutes, trailing only Warren Hill from the undefeated Thunderbirds. He has 308 saves which leads the league by 70 over Zach Higgins from Philadelphia. In the other net, Matt Vinc is having a year par for the course for his stellar career. He is allowing 11.36 goals per 60 minutes, recording 42 saves per game with an 80.8 save percentage.

Trying to score on these keepers are the rising stars of the NLL. For Colorado, Chris Wardle and Jacob Ruest are tied for the Mammoth team lead in goals at 12. Ryan Lee is leading the team in points at 31 (second in the NLL) including 21 assists (tied for third in the NLL). Eli McLaughlin is also getting his footing under him after missing a couple of games and has 23 points.  Jeff Wittig, Kyle Killen and Will Malcom have been good supplement pieces to the keys for the offense from a forward point of view. The transition has also been good to Colorado with Jordan Gilles and Joey Cupido scoring four and five goals respectively. From the entire defense and transition, the Mammoth have gotten 14 goals. For Buffalo Josh Byrne and Chris Cloutier have found the back of the net the most with 10 goals and 9 goals respectively. Chase Fraser has only been active for two games this season but has netted six goals, good for third on the team. The big names in Dhane Smith and Corey Small have been great support pieces while netting their own goals. Smith leads the team in assists and points. Outside of Small all the before mentioned forwards from both teams are 27 or younger.

Expect this game to go back and forth but with lots of energy. Buffalo made it to the NLL Cup Finals a year ago and looked dominant at 14-4 with the core of their team still intact. Colorado has played mostly good lacrosse this season minus the loss last week at Vancouver, having a solid game plan for each game and making the necessary adjustments in game. Both teams have a balanced offensive approach where on any given night, a player could get hot. They each have tough defenses who will look to push the ball in transition and make it difficult for forwards to get good looks and both teams have league leading goalies to bring it all together on the back end. For two teams that will only see each other once this regular season, expect a good show.

Catch this game as well as every game through the 2019-20 NLL Season on Bleacher Report Live.

 

NLL