Coming off an overtime loss to the Rochester Knighthawks last week, the Colorado Mammoth need a win at San Diego Pechanga Arena against the city’s Seals to secure a playoff spot and push the Vancouver Warriors out of the hunt.
San Diego has already clinched a playoff spot at 9-7 but needs to get back on track after three consecutive losses in order to enter the postseason with any level of momentum. And that’s easier said than done with Seals rookie phenom Austin Staats on the shelf with a torn ACL.
The team announced Monday, April 15 that Staats will miss the remainder of the 2018-19 season with a torn ACL. The 2018 NLL Entry Draft’s No. 1 overall pick, leads all rookies in goals (32), assists (29) and points (61) in 14 games played. He also earned NLL Rookie of the Week honors four times on the year.
Without Staats, San Diego’s offense goes from feeding the young superstar to leaning on the team’s older veterans and rising second-year forward Casey Jackson.
The team’s oldies but goodies, Dan Dawson (37), Garrett Billings (33) and Kyle Buchanan (31), are the Seals’ top-three point scorers without Staats in the mix. Dawson and Billings lead the team with 78 and 77 points, respectively, and Buchanan has recorded 25 goals and 35 assists en route to his 60 points.
Jackson has quietly taken the team’s lead in goals away from Staats, scoring a whopping 33 in 16 games played. He’s also recorded 22 assists on the year.
Though Colorado ranks second to last in the NLL in goals scored per game, the team’s defense more than makes up for their offensive struggles.
Eight-year Mammoth veteran Joey Cupido leads the way with his 28 forced turnovers on the year, leading the team by a considerable margin and ranking sixth in the NLL. Mammoth defender Robert Hope, now in his fifth year in the NLL, also plays his part, as he leads Colorado in loose balls 132. He has scooped up 120 or more loose balls in each of the past four seasons.
Offensively for the Mammoth, five-year veteran Eli McLaughlin has far and away been the team’s best scorer. The 25-year-old leftie leads Colorado in goals scored (35), assists (41) and points (76)
Faceoff between McLaughlin’s Mammoth and the Seals is scheduled for 10:30 pm ET (7:30 pm PT). The game can be watched live on B/R Live.