CALGARY EVENS WEST FINAL, FORCES GAME 3

The Calgary Roughnecks faced the Colorado Mammoth in Game 2 of the West Conference Finals at Scotiabank Saddledome Saturday night. The Mammoth led the best of three series 1-0 after a razor thin 8-7 win in Denver Thursday night. That contest was highlighted by the Roughnecks’ lack of discipline late in the game. Calgary cleaned up their play, and seven different players recorded at least two points in a 13-12 victory that ties the series at 1-1. Game 3 is Saturday May 20 at the Saddledome; the winner advances to the NLL Finals against the Buffalo Bandits.

Dolans Bar

Calgary leads after tight first half

A fast but tight first quarter saw each team net two goals. Connor Robinson (3g, 4a; 6:58) and Warren Jeffrey (12:13) scored for Colorado; Shane Simpson (1g, 1a; 8:40) and Jesse King (2g, 6a; 9:33 power play) scored for Calgary. Calgary netminder Christian Del Bianco (32 saves) and Colorado goaltender Dillon Ward (37 saves) were both dialed in, making highlight-reel saves from the opening faceoff. Dan Taylor (2g; 7:29) broke the first quarter tie, and Tyler Pace (3g, 4a; 9:05 power play) extended the lead to two. Zed Williams (3g, 1a) netted his own power play marker at 11:41 of the second quarter to make it 4-3. But Tanner Cook (3g, 1a) responded with 14 seconds remaining to put Calgary up 5-3 at halftime.

Calgary withstands Mammoth comeback to tie series

Calgary would extend their lead in the third quarter, outscoring the Mammoth 4-3. Pace (1:21) and Taylor (5:54) would each score their second goal, with Josh Currier (10:27) and Zach Currier (14:18) also getting on the board. Colorado countered with the second from Williams (2:40), Eli McLaughlin (2g, 3a; 9:34), and Dylan Kinnear (12:11). Tensions boiled over following the Zach Currier goal, as Currier was whistled for goalie interference. Mammoth defender Garrett McIntosh took exception to Currier colliding with Dillon Ward on his crease dive, earning himself a dead ball foul.

King’s second tally (1:18 fourth quarter) put Calgary up 10-6. Robinson’s second (2:09) closed the gap to 10-7, but 30 seconds later Cook answered with his second to push the lead back to four. The Mammoth put together a three-goal run to cut the lead to one. Robinson’s hat trick goal (3:42), a phenomenal dunk from Chris Wardle (1g, 2a; 4:52), and McLaughlin’s second (5:54) suddenly made it 11-10.

Cook (9:35) scored a power play goal for his hat trick, and Pace (11:39) gave Calgary a three-goal cushion. But Colorado would narrow the margin to one for third time in the final quarter. Brett McIntyre (13:09) and Zed Williams (13:35) made it 13-12, and the Mammoth would get the final possession with a chance to tie the score and force overtime. But Colorado’s last second shot attempt was blocked, giving Calgary the win and a chance to win the West in Game 3 next weekend. While Buffalo waits to see who they will face in NLL Finals.

Other Stats of Note

Zach Currier (CGY): 1g, 1a, 17 LB (led all players), 7 CTO (new NLL single-game playoff record)

Ryan Lee (COL): 0g, 6a

Haiden Dickson (CGY): 0g, 4a

Faceoffs: COL 13; CGY 16

Power Play: COL 1 for 3; CGY 3 for 4

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“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk

“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk was formally introduced to box lacrosse when he attended a New England Black Wolves game on a whim in 2016. Instantly hooked, he has since become an avid follower of the National Lacrosse League. Following the postponement of the 2019-2020 NLL season, he was offered the chance to share his wealth of statistical knowledge and unique insights with the lacrosse community at large. He cheerfully accepted, and currently serves as Edge of Philly’s correspondent for both the Albany FireWolves and New York Riptide.

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