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Stories/Op-Ed

John Denver! Mammoth Over Roughnecks In Ot, 17-16

The Colorado Mammoth (2-0) edged the team’s West Division rival Calgary Roughnecks (0-2) with a 17-16 overtime win on Saturday night at Pepsi Center in Denver. Mammoth star John Grant, Jr. scored the game winning goal just 31 seconds into the extra period as Colorado recovered from losing a second-half lead.

For Mammoth coach Chris Gill, he was just glad the team walked away from their home field with an emotional win.

“It was a hard-fought game,” Gill said. “We had momentum early and had to fight our way back, I think we might have stolen one. They were firing on all cylinders in the second half, we had to hold had to hold them off. It showed a lot of character.”

Opposite the coaching bench, Roughnecks head coach and assistant GM Curt Malawsky was less than charismatic in the teams’ second loss of 2015, noting the staff will be hard at work in the coming days.

“I thought we made a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes during the game,” Malawsky said. “We have to make some adjustments. We have to re-evaluate things…we’re going to have to make some adjustments, re-evaluate things under the microscope.”

Calgary had now given up 35 goals in two games; a troubling statistic Malawsky was quick to address Saturday night.

Shawn Evans led all runners in the game with 10 points (5+5) for the Roughnecks. For the Mammoth, Adam Jones and Grant highlighted the teams’ performance once again with eight (3+5) and seven (3+4) points respectively.

The teams exchanged goals to kick off the opening quarter courtesy of Grant and Geoff Snider. The trend would continue through the opening frame with Colorado taking advantage of a 7-4 lead with 11 shots on goal.

The affair would be mimicked in the second, with both teams pocketing three goals each and recording 25 shots on goal. The third quarter slowly began to trickle in Calgary’s favor, netting five to Colorado’s two in the third, tying the game late in the quarter.

In the fourth, the two teams went back and forth, before Calgary began to pull away in front of a disheartened second half home crowd. But with 1:25 remaining, Joey Cupido tied the game for Colorado for the third time in the quarter. With 14.1 seconds remaining Calgary gained possession and called timeout to set up a last second play, but the Mammoth defense held strong as they headed to extra-time.

In overtime, Colorado won the faceoff, setting up the eventual game winning play courtesy of Grant, Jr.

“No matter what sport it is, you have to play 60 minutes,” Malawsky added.

Despite the Mammoth struggling in the third quarter, much like last year, it is a statement Gill and the rest of Colorado’s coaching staff will relay to the players after giving up a three goal lead at the halfway point.

Calgary led the night on the faceoff (27-37) and shots goal (56). Mike Poulin stopped 28 of 45 on the night for the Roughnecks. Colorado’s Dillon Ward recorded 40 saves on 56 shots.

Both the Roughnecks and Mammoth will have a bye in Week 3 of the NLL season, with both squads hosting their next games on Jan. 24. Calgary will square off against Alberta rival Edmonton, while Colorado and Vancouver faceoff in Denver.

Three Stars of the Game as selected by the media:

1) John Grant, Jr.
2) Shawn Evans
3) Joey Cupido

Story by Nick Salen (@MammothBeat) for NLL.com. Photo by Jack Dempsey.

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