The Colorado Mammoth hosted the Las Vegas Desert Dogs at Ball Arena Friday night in Week 18 action. Colorado came into the game holding the Wild Card playoff spot by a half-game over Philadelphia, and a game over Las Vegas and Saskatchewan. A win for the upstart Desert Dogs would vault them into the Wild Card and give them a season series win over the Mammoth. However, it was not to be, as Colorado won 11-9 to remain in the Wild Card playoff position, and put Las Vegas’s hopes for the postseason on life support.
Fourteen Goals in Wild First Half
Zed Williams (3g, 3a) opened the scoring, beating netminder Landon Kells 28 seconds into the game. Former Mammoth forward Zack Greer (2g, 2a; 3:52) answered for the Desert Dogs. Eli McLaughlin (3g, 5a; 4:23) made it 2-1 Colorado, but Jon Phillips (2g; 7:16) equalized for Las Vegas. Ryan Lee (2g, 2a) restored the Mammoth lead 26 seconds later, before the Desert Dogs went on a five-goal run. Greer tallied his second goal (8:54), then Charlie Bertrand (1g, 2a; 10:34) gave Las Vegas their first lead of the game. Erik Turner (11:38) and Jack Hannah (2g; 12:58) followed for a 6-3 lead after one quarter.
Rob Hellyer (1g, 3a; 2:10) extended the Desert Dogs lead to four to start the second quarter. McLaughlin went back-to-back (2:32; 4:43) to break the run and start a four-goal run for Colorado. Chris Wardle (1g, 2a; 9:40) and the second from Williams on a power play (13:37) tied the game at 7-7 going into halftime.
Colorado hangs on in second half for crucial win
Williams achieved his hat trick with the only goal scored in the third quarter (5:34), giving Colorado an 8-7 lead. Evan Downey extended the lead to two, taking the opening faceoff of the fourth quarter for a score (0:05). Las Vegas tied it up at 9-9 after a highlight-reel goal from Hannah (2:26) and the second from Phillips (4:01).
Connor Robinson (1g, 3a; 8:51) broke the tie, and a power play goal from Lee (12:06) gave Colorado an insurance marker. The Desert Dogs were unable to respond, and now sit at 5-9 on the year. Meanwhile, the Mammoth get back to .500 at 7-7, remain in the Wild Card spot, and split the season series with Las Vegas. The Desert Dogs’ loss also meant that both San Diego and Calgary clinched playoff berths.
Other Stats of Note
Faceoffs: LV 9; COL 15
Dillon Ward (COL): 39 saves
James Barclay (LV): 15 loose ball pickups (led all players)
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“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.