After three narrow victories to open the season, the Colorado Mammoth dominated in all areas of the game, improving to 4-0 with a clinical 14-5 victory over the Vancouver Stealth.
The two National Lacrosse League rivals met at the Langley Events Centre on Saturday night.
“The first half might have been our best half in two years,” said Mammoth coach Dan Stroup.
Colorado led 4-0 after one quarter and were up 12-3 at the half.
The Mammoth — the league’s highest scoring team — used a balanced attack in the victory with five players getting four points or more.
And that is the key to the team’s success.
“The offensive guys are unselfish. They don’t care who scores, they just move the ball, and it is tough for defences to defend that,” Stroup said.
John Grant Jr. had five goals and seven points while Callum Crawford (4+2) also had a big game. Adam Jones (2+5), Jeremy Noble (2+2) and Eli McLaughlin (0+4) rounded out the attack.
In goal, Dillon Ward made 50 saves for the victory. The bulk of those saves (33) came i the second half.
In Colorado’s first three victories, they scored 47 goals but allowed 43.
“The first couple of games, we were just making little mistakes that we obviously needed to correct,” said Ward.
“The defence played unbelievable in front of me and were forcing them to take shots from outside. I felt comfortable back there and was seeing the ball.”
“In all three facets, offence, defence and special teams, it was a complete effort for us.”
The Stealth were led by Joel McCready’s two goals while Logan Schuss had a goal and three helpers.
Vancouver fell to 1-2 on the season.
They were coming off a huge come-from-behind 13-11 win over the defending NLL champs, the Saskatchewan Rush last week in Saskatoon.
But in the team’s two home games, they have been outscored 31-12.
“It is frustrating because it is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Two disappointing losses at home, flat out embarrassing losses,” said Vancouver captain Curtis Hodgson.
“There is no secret that Colorado is a great team and firing on all cylinders and putting lots of goals in. But in all three facets, we have to be better.”
“Lacrosse is a game of momentum and runs, And we clearly did not do enough to stop their runs and we put ourselves in too big of a hole to get back in the game,” he added.
Hodgson did like the fact his team had a much better compete level in the second half.
Both Stealth goalies saw action in the game with Eric Penney starting and finishing, allowing eight goals on 33 shots. Chris Levis stopped 10 of the 16 shots he faced.
And while the goaltending needed to be better, coach Dan Perreault wasn’t ready to pin the loss entirely on that position.
“Sometimes you need a timely save, but regardless … (Colorado) had wide-open looks. You are certainly not going to blame your goaltending when there is a guy wide open and nobody even checking him.”
Hodgson said the team will fix its mistakes and be better next week in Calgary.
“I believe in this group and I know that we will bounce back and put together a much more solid game in Calgary,” he said.
“I believe in this team. We have the characters and guys in the room to figure it out.”
by Gary Ahuja (@VanStealthBeat) for NLL.com. Photo by Garrett James.