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WK
1
Fri, Dec 2
FINAL
Philadelphia
8
Halifax
18
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
Vancouver
8
Toronto
19
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
San Diego
15
New York
14
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
Albany
11
Buffalo
10
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
Rochester
16
Georgia
11
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
Colorado
6
Saskatchewan
18
WK
2
Fri, Dec 9
20:30:00
Las Vegas
Panther City
Fri, Dec 9
22:00:00
Saskatchewan
San Diego
Sat, Dec 10
19:00:00
Toronto
Rochester
Sat, Dec 10
21:30:00
Vancouver
Calgary
WK
3
Fri, Dec 16
22:00:00
Calgary
Vancouver
Fri, Dec 16
22:30:00
Panther City
Las Vegas
Sat, Dec 17
19:00:00
Buffalo
Toronto
Sat, Dec 17
19:00:00
Rochester
Albany
Sat, Dec 17
19:00:00
Philadelphia
Georgia
Sat, Dec 17
19:30:00
Halifax
New York
Sat, Dec 17
20:00:00
Colorado
Panther City
WK
5
Fri, Dec 30
19:30:00
Halifax
Buffalo
Fri, Dec 30
21:00:00
San Diego
Calgary
Sat, Dec 31
21:00:00
Panther City
Saskatchewan
WK
6
Fri, Jan 6
22:30:00
Philadelphia
Las Vegas
Sat, Jan 7
19:00:00
Panther City
Rochester
Sat, Jan 7
19:00:00
Halifax
Albany
Sat, Jan 7
19:00:00
Buffalo
Georgia
Sat, Jan 7
19:30:00
Toronto
New York
Sat, Jan 7
22:00:00
Vancouver
San Diego
Sun, Jan 8
0:00:00
Calgary
Colorado
WK
7
Fri, Jan 13
18:30:00
Albany
Halifax
Fri, Jan 13
21:00:00
Saskatchewan
Colorado
Sat, Jan 14
19:00:00
Halifax
Toronto
Sat, Jan 14
19:00:00
Panther City
Philadelphia
Sat, Jan 14
19:30:00
Georgia
Buffalo
Sat, Jan 14
21:00:00
San Diego
Calgary
Sat, Jan 14
22:00:00
Las Vegas
Vancouver
Sun, Jan 15
15:00:00
Rochester
New York
WK
8
Fri, Jan 20
19:30:00
Buffalo
Rochester
Fri, Jan 20
22:30:00
Vancouver
Las Vegas
Sat, Jan 21
19:00:00
New York
Albany
Sat, Jan 21
19:00:00
Toronto
Philadelphia
WK
9
Fri, Jan 27
18:00:00
Rochester
Halifax
Fri, Jan 27
19:00:00
Buffalo
Philadelphia
Sat, Jan 28
19:30:00
Buffalo
New York
Sat, Jan 28
20:30:00
Las Vegas
Saskatchewan
Sat, Jan 28
21:00:00
Toronto
Calgary
Sat, Jan 28
21:00:00
San Diego
Colorado
Sat, Jan 28
22:00:00
Panther City
Vancouver
WK
10
Fri, Feb 3
21:00:00
Georgia
Colorado
Sat, Feb 4
18:00:00
Calgary
Halifax
Sat, Feb 4
19:00:00
New York
Toronto
Sat, Feb 4
19:00:00
Albany
Philadelphia
Sat, Feb 4
19:30:00
Rochester
Buffalo
Sat, Feb 4
22:00:00
Panther City
San Diego
Sat, Feb 4
22:00:00
Saskatchewan
Vancouver
Sat, Feb 4
22:30:00
Colorado
Las Vegas
WK
11
Fri, Feb 10
19:30:00
Toronto
Georgia
Fri, Feb 10
21:00:00
Saskatchewan
Calgary
Sat, Feb 11
19:00:00
Halifax
Rochester
Sat, Feb 11
19:30:00
Albany
New York
Sat, Feb 11
20:00:00
Vancouver
Panther City
Sat, Feb 11
21:00:00
Colorado
Calgary
WK
12
Fri, Feb 17
22:00:00
Saskatchewan
San Diego
Fri, Feb 17
22:00:00
Calgary
Vancouver
Sat, Feb 18
19:00:00
Georgia
Toronto
Sat, Feb 18
19:00:00
Las Vegas
Albany
Sat, Feb 18
19:30:00
Philadelphia
Buffalo
Sat, Feb 18
20:00:00
Colorado
Panther City
Sun, Feb 19
13:00:00
New York
Halifax
WK
13
Fri, Feb 24
21:00:00
Panther City
Colorado
Fri, Feb 24
22:30:00
Calgary
Las Vegas
Sat, Feb 25
19:00:00
New York
Rochester
Sat, Feb 25
19:00:00
Albany
Georgia
Sat, Feb 25
20:00:00
Vancouver
Saskatchewan
WK
14
Fri, Mar 3
18:30:00
Buffalo
Halifax
Sat, Mar 4
11:30:00
New York
Philadelphia
Sat, Mar 4
16:00:00
Las Vegas
San Diego
Sat, Mar 4
19:00:00
Rochester
Toronto
Sat, Mar 4
19:00:00
Georgia
Albany
Sat, Mar 4
20:00:00
Saskatchewan
Panther City
Mon, Mar 6
19:00:00
Toronto
Philadelphia
WK
15
Fri, Mar 10
19:30:00
Halifax
Buffalo
Fri, Mar 10
21:00:00
Calgary
Colorado
Sat, Mar 11
19:00:00
Albany
Toronto
Sat, Mar 11
19:30:00
Philadelphia
New York
Sat, Mar 11
20:30:00
San Diego
Saskatchewan
Sat, Mar 11
22:30:00
Vancouver
Las Vegas
Sun, Mar 12
16:00:00
Rochester
Georgia
WK
16
Fri, Mar 17
21:00:00
Saskatchewan
Calgary
Fri, Mar 17
22:00:00
San Diego
Vancouver
Sat, Mar 18
11:00:00
Georgia
Philadelphia
Sat, Mar 18
18:00:00
Toronto
Halifax
Sat, Mar 18
19:30:00
Albany
New York
Sat, Mar 18
19:30:00
Colorado
Buffalo
Sat, Mar 18
20:00:00
Las Vegas
Panther City
Sun, Mar 19
15:00:00
Philadelphia
Rochester
WK
17
Fri, Mar 24
20:30:00
San Diego
Panther City
Sat, Mar 25
19:00:00
Toronto
Albany
Sat, Mar 25
19:00:00
Halifax
Philadelphia
Sat, Mar 25
19:30:00
Georgia
New York
Sat, Mar 25
21:30:00
Calgary
Saskatchewan
Sat, Mar 25
22:00:00
Buffalo
San Diego
Sat, Mar 25
22:00:00
Colorado
Vancouver
Sat, Mar 25
22:30:00
Rochester
Las Vegas
WK
18
Fri, Mar 31
20:00:00
New York
Georgia
Fri, Mar 31
21:00:00
Las Vegas
Colorado
Fri, Mar 31
22:00:00
Calgary
San Diego
Sat, Apr 1
19:00:00
Buffalo
Toronto
Sat, Apr 1
20:00:00
Albany
Panther City
Sat, Apr 1
21:30:00
Vancouver
Saskatchewan
Sun, Apr 2
13:00:00
Georgia
Halifax
Sun, Apr 2
18:00:00
Rochester
Philadelphia
WK
19
Sat, Apr 8
19:00:00
Albany
Rochester
Sat, Apr 8
19:00:00
Saskatchewan
Georgia
Sat, Apr 8
21:00:00
Panther City
Calgary
Sat, Apr 8
21:00:00
Vancouver
Colorado
Sat, Apr 8
22:30:00
San Diego
Las Vegas
WK
20
Fri, Apr 14
21:00:00
Las Vegas
Calgary
Fri, Apr 14
21:00:00
San Diego
Colorado
Sat, Apr 15
19:00:00
Philadelphia
Toronto
Sat, Apr 15
19:00:00
Georgia
Albany
Sat, Apr 15
19:30:00
New York
Buffalo
Sat, Apr 15
21:30:00
Halifax
Saskatchewan
Sat, Apr 15
22:00:00
Panther City
Vancouver
WK
21
Fri, Apr 21
20:30:00
Calgary
Panther City
Sat, Apr 22
18:00:00
New York
Halifax
Sat, Apr 22
19:00:00
Georgia
Rochester
Sat, Apr 22
20:00:00
Toronto
Buffalo
Sat, Apr 22
21:30:00
Colorado
Saskatchewan
Sat, Apr 22
22:00:00
Las Vegas
San Diego
Sun, Apr 23
15:00:00
Philadelphia
Albany
WK
22
Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
Philadelphia
Rochester
Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
Buffalo
Albany
Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
Halifax
Georgia
Sat, Apr 29
22:00:00
Colorado
San Diego
Sat, Apr 29
22:00:00
New York
Vancouver
Sat, Apr 29
22:30:00
Saskatchewan
Las Vegas
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Stories/Op-Ed

Mammoth’s Busy March Could Decide Playoff Fate

The Colorado Mammoth are about to experience their most grueling month of regular season games in their team’s history. By the end of March, the lacrosse world should not only learn the identity of this 2018 Mammoth team, but they should also have an idea what playoff seed the Colorado franchise will have… if they have one at all.

 

This March, the Mammoth will play seven regular season games. They have never played more than six non-playoff games in any month over the club’s 16-year existence – they have played seven total games before in April 2011 but one of the match-ups was a playoff duel.

 

Having played just eight games over the first three months of the season, this year’s team has not had many opportunities to mesh in real game situations. Their eight games played in 2018 are the fewest in the NLL, and, of particular importance, they have played at least two games less than any of their Western Conference opponents and have even played three games fewer than both the Vancouver Stealth and the Saskatchewan Rush.

 

While the Mammoth’s schedule has not been the most conducive to creating player familiarity and on-the-turf chemistry, the team will now face seven opponents – twice playing back-to-back games – in a 29-day span, something Mammoth head coach Pat Coyle says should show what this team is made of.

 

“It’s hard not to be a little frustrated with this schedule,” an eager Coyle said a few days before their first back-to-back game weekend. “We had these bye weeks where we easily could’ve had one game. But, the schedule is what the schedule is. I believe that steel is forged through fire. This is an opportunity this weekend to really forge who we are as a team.”

 

The team will have plenty of time to find its identity during their league-most games this month during actual contests, but they will also have ample to blend as a finely-tuned unit through their many practices and their flights to and from Georgia, to Vancouver, to Toronto, and a bus ride from Toronto to Rochester.

 

With such a busy schedule ahead of them, staying healthy and fit will be essential if the team wants to play at its best. Joel Raether is Head of Sports Performance for the Mammoth. He and the rest of the training staff have been working the players tirelessly to prepare them for months just like this one.

 

“A lot of what it takes leading up to this coming month is what we’ve done over the last couple of months,” Joel said. “As I look at the schedule at the beginning of the year, it’s making sure that we’re forecasting what will be the most critical times of the year and how we are going to plan and prepare for that.”

 

In preparation for their hectic March, the training staff has taken advantage of the many bye weeks, trying to fit in practices where they can to keep the guys in simulated game situations. Joel and his team take the responsibility to stay in touch with the players via phone calls even while they’re spread across North America.

 

“The hope is,” Joel says of the plan to get the Mammoth ready for the seven game stretch this month, April, and the potential playoffs, “After this week with having back-to-back games, travel included, we’ll be trying to get back to neutral in terms of our recovery… We’ll be preaching to the guys in terms of sleep, hydration, nutrition and do every in our control to put those guys on the right path. Everything little thing is going to matter over the next four weeks.”

 

If the team can stay healthy – remembering that Zack Greer, Scott Carnegie, and Chris Wardle are all newly returned from injuries – the Mammoth will have 420 minutes of minimum game time to play all seven matches with a full unit. It will also give Mammoth GM Dan Carey more than enough time to see each of these players show why they deserve to be on the team’s roster.

 

With all the trades that have taken place in the last week alone – the New England Black Wolves/Buffalo Bandits swap of Shawn Evans for Callum Crawford and the Rush getting Dan Dawson from the Rochester Knighthawks – it is clear that other teams are trying to make a serious push to not only prepare their respective organization’s for a playoff run, but a Champion’s Cup run.

 

While Carey stated that this month will not be a time for player evaluation, he did not rule out the possibility that the team would make any deals before the March 19th trade deadline. “The more you talk, the more things come up,” Carey admitted. “If you’re struggling a bit in the win column, making those phone calls is a little bit easier. Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting in those conversations and sometimes things can come out of nothing.”

 

Now that the team is healthy, Carey wants to see what a full lineup has to give because he believes that there are better things to come from this unit when all the pieces are working together on a regular basis.

 

The Mammoth will need to give it all they’ve got if they want to come out of March with a record still above .500. With games against the Bandits who have won four of their last five, a Georgia Swarm team that is looking more and more like their 2017 Champion’s Cup-winning squad every week, a massively consequential conference match-up with the Calgary Roughnecks, a game on the road against the Toronto Rock and their impeccable forwards, a battle against a Knighthawks team that has shown they can compete with Champion’s Cup quality, and two games with the Stealth who are beginning to look much better than their 1-10 record suggests, this month could make or break the Mammoth’s playoff hopes.

 

In a worst-case scenario, the Mammoth could fall behind the Stealth in the Western Conference, and thus, out of a playoff spot. Their best case scenario would see them challenging the Rush for the Western Conference title.

 

Heading into their first two games of the month, the team’s confidence is at one of its highest points all season. Coming off a “near-complete game” victory by Coyle’s standards against the Black Wolves a couple of weeks ago, this team is ready to show who they are. There’s a clear difference, the Mammoth’s head coach says now that Greer, Carnegie, and Wardle are back in the lineup. “With three veterans out of our lineup and getting them back,” Coyle explained. “You can see the difference that it makes with our confidence and adds a bit of swagger.”

 

Confidence is fragile, though, and must be maintained, especially in a league where week in and week out any team has a fighting chance to pull out a win. The ever-steady focus and persistence from Coyle and his Assistant Coach’s Dan Stroup and Chris Gill will be necessary to lead their warriors to more wins than losses this coming month.

 

The players are there, the conditioning is there, now all the Colorado Mammoth have to do is put everything they’ve trained for together over the last several months in order to place themselves in a comfortable spot in the Western Conference standings before they play their final three games of the regular season versus the Rush, Black Wolves, and Rock respectively. If all goes according to plan, those games season-ending games will have little to no factor on where this team sits heading into what would be the Mammoth’s eighth-consecutive NLL Playoffs.

 

 

 

NLL