Compiled and Written by “Muffler” Mike Kostiuk
2019-2020 Record: 7-6, 2nd place West Division
F Zed Williams, T Ron John, F Connor Robinson, D Alec Tamas
D Dan Coates, F Jacob Ruest, F Will Malcolm, F Kyle Killen, F Jeff Wittig
Could less really be more? If your answer is yes, it could explain how the Colorado Mammoth remain a tough task for any NLL team on any given night. Over the last few years, the team has seemingly developed an identity that, on the surface, appears less flashy than most other teams. Yet this approach often results in the Mammoth emerging from tight, low-scoring games with another all-important W added to their record. Let’s look at the Colorado Mammoth as they prepare for the 2021-2022 season…
Alluding to Colorado’s penchant for low-scoring contests, the Mammoth ranked in the bottom third of the league in Goals Per Game (9.85) during the 2019-2020 season. This is not to say that the offense is entirely bland, as righthander Ryan Lee and lefty Eli McLaughlin are both capable of making highlight-reel shots at a moment’s notice. Veterans Tyler Digby and Chris Wardle respectively provide a big body that can work in the dirty areas of the floor, and one of the better quick-stick shots in the game.
While the offense saw the departures of Jacob Ruest (2020 Draft-day trade with Albany), Kyle Killen (trade with Vancouver), Jeff Wittig (trade with Rochester), and Will Malcolm (post Expansion Draft trade with PCLC), the Mammoth acquired 2020 PLL Playoff MVP Zed Williams in a trade with Georgia, along with Connor Robinson (trade with Saskatchewan). Both acquisitions should provide a sizeable boost to the aforementioned GPG statistic in the upcoming season.
So how exactly did the Mammoth manage a winning record despite the low GPG? The defensive unit conversely ranked near the top of the league in 2019-2020, with less than 9.5 Goals Allowed Per Game. The defensive prowess is even more impressive given that Colorado ranked next to last in Caused Turnovers, and were below 50% in Faceoff Wins for the season.
The team is expected to return nearly all of its core defensive players, including Defensive Player of the Year finalist Robert Hope, Goalie of the Year Finalist Dillon Ward, and Transition Player of the Year finalist Joey Cupido (who surprisingly was not selected by Panther City in the Expansion Draft after being left unprotected). 2019 draft picks Warren Jeffrey and Brett Craig should see more playing time and greater roles in the defense, while 2020 Draftee Ron John and free agent signee Alec Tamas will look to supplement Cupido and Jordan Gilles in the transition game.
Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.
An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game in 2010. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob was given an opportunity to write about lacrosse, and the rest as they say, is history.
Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.
In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries. Gary was also made an administrator of Lacrosse History Past Present and Future in 2022.
Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).
Gary also hosts a Lacrosse talk show and podcast for The Edge of Philly Sports Network, seen live Sunday nights at 9pm (ET), and archived on the Edge of Philly YouTube page, as well as Spotify.
Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.