The New England Black Wolves and Colorado Mammoth will meet on Sunday afternoon at Mohegan Sun Arena with identical 4-3 records. Another similarity between the two is their path to that 4-3 record. Both started the season winning four of their first five games but have recently hit the skids. New England and Colorado have cooled off after their hot starts by dropping their last two meetings with division foes.
New England is coming off loses to Toronto and Buffalo while Colorado recently lost to Saskatchewan and Calgary. The Black Wolves have a much tighter race in the East Division while Saskatchewan sits atop the West at 8-1, making it a much more difficult route to the top for the Mammoth.
Up until last weekend the Black Wolves were sitting pretty atop the East Division but recent loses to the Rock and Bandits have flipped the standings on Head Coach Glenn Clark and his squad. New England is now in third place behind Buffalo, in first, and Toronto, in second. Colorado is in second place, three games back of Saskatchewan.
The similarities between the Black Wolves and Mammoth continue when you look at their offensive numbers. New England’s 79 goals this season are last in the National Lacrosse League while Colorado’s 85 goals are the second fewest.
New England is led in points by captain Shawn Evans (42) and in goals by Kevin Crowley (19). Evans is second on the team with 16 goals and Stephan Leblanc has contributed eight goals and 17 assists in six games since an early season trade from Toronto. Also key to the Black Wolves success on offense is Reilly O’Connor (6G, 14A), Kyle Buchanan (7G, 10A), and Kevin Buchanan (5G, 11A).
Close to the totals of Evans and Crowley is Colorado’s Ryan Benesch who has 18 goals and 40 points in seven games this season. Jeremy Noble (12G, 27A), Jacob Ruest (8G, 25A), and Eli McLaughlin (13G, 9A) are more players that New England’s defense will need to keep an eye on.
With the two lowest scoring offenses in the NLL, goalies Aaron Bold (NE) and Dillon Ward (COL) will be looking to put on a show and rebound from their previous two loses. Colorado has surrendered a league best, 82 goals against while New England is fifth with 100 goals against.
New England and Colorado will face off on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. EST at Mohegan Sun Arena.