The Colorado Mammoth are posting their worst stretch of results in recent memory at the worst time. Coming into the their final game of the 2018 NLL Regular Season, the Mammoth have lost three straight games and four of their last five contests.
“I thought that was our worst game of the year,” Mammoth head coach Pat Coyle said reflecting on his team’s disappointing 10-6 loss over a week ago. “I don’t think anyone is happy with how we played. Overall, we feel embarrassed, embarrassed as a group.”
Coyle’s sentiments are understandable considering that he stressed to his team that they should have risen to the occasion and been in “playoff-mode” going up against a New England Black Wolves team that was fighting for their playoff lives. However, the Mammoth were outmatched in nearly every facet of the game, and, ultimately, their six goals produced were their fewest since March of last season.
“Who really knows?,” Coyle said of why his team performed at the level they did against the Black Wolves. “We’ll think back and try and analyze it. Really, as hard as that was to go through, all that really matters is that we don’t do that again this coming week. I think the best thing you can do after a game like that is just turn the page and get ready for the next game.”
This Saturday, the Mammoth will be searching for redemption as they face another team that is fighting for their playoff lives, the Toronto Rock. If the Mammoth were to lose on Saturday in Denver at the Pepsi Center, the West Division’s second-seed would tie their longest losing streak since 2014.
“I think we have to worry about what has made us successful this season, and not worry about what Toronto is playing for, or what we are or aren’t playing for,” Coyle said of his strategy heading into his team’s final regular season home game. “We really just need to remember what makes us good and focus on that.”
Despite finishing with the second-best record in the West Division and possibly the second- best record in the NLL depending on what happens this weekend, Coyle isn’t satisfied with where the team is at at this point of the year.
“I think looking at our last result, I’m not happy with what we’ve done,” Coyle said of his team’s play this year. “This league is really about ‘what have you done lately?’, and recently, I don’t think we’ve performed up to what are ability is. It’s hard to step back and look at this season as a whole when you have such a bad taste in your mouth from the last few games.”
Heading into the playoffs with a four-game losing streak would not be good for the psyche of a team that is facing their most-hated rivals, the Calgary Roughnecks, the week following the match versus Toronto. Coyle suggested that maybe the team has felt too relaxed since they clinched the second-seed in the West Division on the final week of March.
“It sure felt like [we were too relaxed] last game,” Coyle said of his team’s lack of effort and motivation against the Black Wolves. “If we continue, it’s a really dangerous trend to go into the playoff like that. That would mean that we can turn our effort on and off at will and I think that’s dangerous.”
We’ll see if the Mammoth continue to play uninspired lacrosse this Saturday at 9:00pm EST. The Mammoth are coming off a bye-week heading into their final game, so, to paraphrase NLL Referee Todd Labranche, hopefully the Mammoth have taken some time to think about what they’ve been doing the last several weeks. If they haven’t, they’ll be in for a rude awakening against the Rock.