Shawn Slaght, All Lacrosse All The Time – A Division of the Edge of Philly Sports Network
Connor Robinson scored on the power play with 3:11 left to play as the Colorado Mammoth took Game 1 of the West Final 8-7 over the Calgary Roughnecks on Thursday night.
As expected this was a goaltending duel between Christian Del Bianco and Dillon Ward and both came up with amazing saves. Del Bianco stopped 42 of 50 shots, while Ward turned aside 36 of 43 shots in the win.
Ward also hit a milestone as he surpassed 1,000 career playoff minutes.
Calgary’s Achilles Heel was their discipline. They gave Colorado seven power play opportunities in which the Mammoth converted on four of them. This includes five straight penalties by the Roughnecks between the third and fourth quarters, which really cost them the game. In contrast, Calgary only had two power plays.
Calgary takes the early lead
The Roughnecks got on the board first with 9:23 on the clock. Jesse King feathered a pass to Tanner Cook on a pick-and-roll to make it 1-0.
Cook would strike again less than two minutes later on the power play to give the Roughnecks a 2-0 advantage after the first quarter.
Roughnecks hold on to first-half lead
Right off the opening faceoff for the second quarter, Zach Currier once again showed his speed on transition. He picked up the loose ball and took flight to beat Ward to make it 3-0 for the number two-ranked Roughnecks.
Zed Williams broke the goose egg for the Mammoth 33 seconds later. His low side-arm shot got by Del Bianco to get the Mammoth within two.
Calgary’s transition game continued to be deadly as Jeff Cornwall countered the Mammoth’s goal to make the score 4-1.
Robinson scored the first of his three goals 2:31 into the second quarter with a laser beam passed Del Bianco.
Warren Jeffrey sent a long lead pass up to Jordan Gillies on transition with 9:23 to cap a two-goal run by the Mammoth to get within a goal.
Seth Van Schepen rounded out the second-quarter scoring with his first career playoff goal on transition with 5:45 on the clock to make it 5-3 for the Roughnecks at halftime.
Mammoth special teams take over
Colorado’s special teams took over as Calgary had a difficult time staying out of the penalty box in the second half. Colorado scored all four of the power play markers in the second half.
It started with a power play goal 27 seconds into the third quarter. From behind the net, Chris Wardle put in a one-handed dunk to narrow the score to 5-4.
After Eli McLaughlin tied up the game at 12:58, Chris Wardle would give the Mammoth the lead at 10:32 on the power play. McLaughlin pulled off a behind-the-back pass to Robinson. Robinson then had a behind-the-back pass to Wardle, who scored on a twister while flying through the crease.
Dan Taylor rounded out the third quarter scoring with a pair of goals to give Calgary a slim 7-6 advantage heading into the final frame.
Penalty troubles cost the Roughnecks
Calgary would take four more penalties in the fourth quarter which would ultimately cost them the game.
On the power play and a delayed penalty coming, Robinson made the Roughnecks pay the price to tie up the game with only 5:54 left on the clock.
Cook would get called for unsportsmanlike conduct at 3:41 for throwing a loose stick at his opponent. Connor Robinson would bury the opportunity 30 seconds later. It would hold up as the game-winner as the Mammoth take Game 1 with Game 2 slated for Saturday night in Calgary.
Connor Robinson, 3g 2a
Ryan Lee, 4a
Zed Williams, 1g 2a
Eli McLaughlin, 1g 2a
Tanner Cook, 2g 1a
Josh Currier, 3a
Dan Taylor, 2g
Zach Currier, 1g 1a
Jesse King, 2a