It is often said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,”. Now, after a long week of constantly hearing the storyline that they, the Colorado Mammoth, have been dominated by the Calgary Roughnecks in the playoffs over the last 15 years, they can finally once again say, “We won”.
It was a back-and-forth game between two fierce rivals that are overly familiar with seeing each other in the postseason. While each team had strong offensive and defensive runs where they were controlling the scoring and tempo of the game, neither team led by more than two goals until the fourth quarter, although the Mammoth did score eight of the last 11 goals of the game.
Eventually, it was the Mammoth who pulled away in the final 15 minutes. They won the game comfortably by a score of 16-12 – it was 6th time that either of these teams had beaten each other by four or more goals in the postseason
The Mammoth knew it would take a special night to shake the monkey off their back of 10 consecutive postseason losses to the Roughnecks, and that’s exactly what their team delivered lead by their three-headed offensive monster of Connor Robinson, Eli McLaughlin and Ryan Lee. The trio combined for 10 goals and 12 assists.
But, don’t be mistaken, this was a complete team effort by the Mammoth. Seven different players scored a goal and 11 players scored a point including up-and-comers such as Jalen Chester and Dylan Kinnear. Mammoth Captain Robert Hope attributed his team’s success to sticking to the game plan and learning how they needed to improve from weeks past.
“I think we stuck to our game plan,” Hope said. “I thought we made some adjustments from last week – it was nice playing them right after and learning some things [about them].”
For the Roughnecks, this loss is a tough spill to swallow. They had one of the best records in the 2nd half of the regular season and seemed to be trending in the same direction as when they went on to win the NLL Cup in 2019.
Roughnecks Head Coach Curt Malawsky believed his team was capable of great success this postseason, but admitted they were outplayed. Despite the loss, he remained proud of his guys and believes that they have more to offer in the years to come.
“We’re in the business to win and we didn’t get the job done,” Malawsky said. “But, like I’ve said before, it wasn’t because of a lack of effort and because the guys don’t care – they care so much for each other. It’s a pretty tight room and that’s why I did think we were destined for big things.”
While the Mammoth are proud of their achievement on Friday night, Hope was already ready to begin focusing on what challenges his team will face next week.
“We were successful in this one and now we’re off to the West Finals which is obviously nice,” Hope said. “I know some of guys talked about that after – it was their first [postseason] win and our first win against against Calgary in the playoffs [in a long time], so that’s obviously nice. But, we’re on to the next one and looking to come right back at it.”
The Mammoth will not know who they are playing or where they will be playing next week until the conclusion of the Philadelphia Wings and San Diego Seals game on Saturday night. Either way, the Mammoth are only worried about themselves.
If there’s one more thing the Mammoth can learn from history, it’s that the last time they beat the Roughnecks in the postseason (2006), they went on to win the NLL Championship that year. Is this season’s team destined to repeat that history?