The Colorado Mammoth (5-6) held onto a close win against the San Diego Seals (3-6) Saturday night by a final of 10-7. The season matchup is tied and will remain that way since they will not see each other during the remainder of the regular season. The final standings between these two teams, if tied, will be determined by their overall record against West Division opponents. This is the first Mammoth win against the Seals since the Seals entered the league last season and came at a critical point in the season. Colorado now enters a tie with Calgary for 2nd in the West and San Diego finds themselves at the bottom of the division. Colorado is now 4-4 against West Division opponents and San Diego is 2-3.
The back and forth first quarter saw nothing but familiar faces for the Mammoth and Mammoth faithful. In the first possession, Dylan Kinnear got Colorado on the board, beating goalie Frank Scigliano on the first shot of the game, 24 seconds after the first whistle. An unfriendly welcome back to the net for Scigliano who was activated from the injury earlier this week. Former Mammoth player, Jeremy Noble tied the game less than a minute later off a pass from another former Mammoth player, Zack Greer.
Connor Jackson took a penalty for a delay of game which gave the Mammoth their first power play opportunity of the evening. Ryan Lee took full advantage of the man-up opportunity and placed a rocket of a shot over Scigliano’s left shoulder. Joey Cupido was whistled for a holding the stick penalty which led to another two, special team goals. Colorado took advantage of a poor change by the Seals and Eli McLaughlin found an open Jake McNabb who scored a shorthanded goal, the first of his career in his first game played for the Owen Sound, Ontario native. Jeremy Noble again answered right back for the Seals on the man up to tie the game. At the end of the first, the Mammoth had the last possession and pulled Dillon Ward for an extra attacker. Dylan Kinnear received an across field pass from Ryan Lee and buried the go-ahead goal with 0.8 seconds remaining.
Jordan Gilles took an early call in the second quarter for cross checking however the Mammoth killed this penalty with relative ease. The Mammoth got a three-goal lead when Chris Wardle dove across the crease to get his first and only goal of the night and make it 5-2 Mammoth. Less than a minute later, Connor Fields got a pass from Noble and chipped into the Mammoth lead once again.
After a big hit by Scott Carnegie on Seals forward Wes Berg, John Lintz picked up the loose ball and found Tim Edwards who after a few razzle dazzle fakes, beat Scigliano for his first goal of the 2019-20 season. On the next possession, off the faceoff, Mammoth defender Joey Cupido was flagged for another holding the stick penalty which gave San Diego another power play with just over two minutes remaining in the half. Once again, Jeremy Noble beat his former teammate Dillon Ward to get the score to 6-4. Jeremy Noble with less than 10 seconds remaining almost got his fourth in the half on the board but was waved off for being in the crease.
At the half, Colorado led 6-4. Dillon Ward had a busy first half, saving 25 of 29 shots on goal. Scigliano stopped 16 of 22 shots. Ryan Lee led the Mammoth in points with four (1g, 3a) while Jeremy Noble felt right at home with four points of his own (3g, 1a). Colorado converted one power play on their only opportunity while San Diego converted two of three opportunities.
The third quarter started with all momentum for the Mammoth. Eli McLaughlin found a cutting Jacob Ruest who had an open look in front of the net but Scigliano came up with a big save to keep the game at a two-goal difference. Eli Gobrecht was sent to the penalty box for a holding the stick penalty. Colorado on their two possessions on the power play ran the entire clock to look for their best opportunity. On their second possession, Jake McNabb bounced a shot past Scigliano. A short time later, the Mammoth got on the board again after some great ball movement. Ryan Lee passed to Eli McLaughlin, who found a cutting Jacob Ruest in the middle of the floor and put the ball in the net to get an 8-4 lead with just under 10 remaining in the third. Seals goalie Frank Scigliano was pulled after this goal for backup Nick Damude, who faced Colorado in Las Vegas a couple of weeks prior.
Zack Greer found the back of the net for the first time on the night after a pick was set for him. Through heavy traffic he beat Dillon Ward to make the score 8-5. After a deflection off the glass, the ball rolled towards the Seals defensive zone with none other than two-time NLL Transition Player of the Year, Joey Cupido, who had an open look in transition but was unable to beat Nick Damude who made a big stop quickly into coming into the game. Running the break after a Damude save, Tor Reinholdt ran the ball down the field and found Eli Gobrecht who bounced a shot past Dillon Ward to make it a two-goal game and swinging momentum in favor of the Seals with under 20 minutes remaining in the game.
The fourth started as a defensive battle with defenses causing turnovers and great saves. Joey Cupido got on the break and ran a give and go play and tried to bury a goal past Damude who stopped the ball between his legs and laid flat against his back to keep the ball from going in. Austin Staats drove to the net and dove across the crease before being stopped by Dillon Ward. Halfway through the quarter no goals were scored and some highlight saves were made. The physicality was beginning to pick up as well. The Mammoth were looking for insurance while San Diego wanted to stay within striking range.
The first goal of the quarter came almost nine minutes in when Connor Kearnan beat Ward over the right shoulder to make it a one goal game. After the under-five media timeout, San Diego started with the ball but was unable to convert. In transition, Mammoth Captain, Dan Coates found Jordan Gilles who on the break beat Damude for his first goal of the night and the first ball to beat Damude with two and a half minutes remaining. Eli McLaughlin sealed the game with an empty net goal with 15 seconds remaining.
The second half saw one penalty in its entirety and both defenses locked in. Nick Damude came in and made 13 saves on 14 shots in his time in the second half and Dillon Ward made 23 saves on 26 shots and gets his 50th career win in this low scoring affair. San Diego finished with 55 shots on goal compared to Colorado’s 41. San Diego also won the loose ball tally by a total of 70-55. Brodie Merrill and Robert Hope led the loose ball total with 12 and 11 respectively. Three stars on the night in order are Dillon Ward (48 saves on 55 shots), Ryan Lee with six points (1g, 5a) and Seal forward Jeremy Noble with 5 points including a hat trick.
The Mammoth (5-6) will enter a bye week before returning to Colorado for a matchup against the Philadelphia Wings on Leap Day, February 29. San Diego (3-6) will head home to Pechanga Arena next week for a West Division matchup versus Vancouver. All National Lacrosse League games can be streamed live via Bleacher Report Live.