The National Lacrosse League (NLL) crowned the Colorado Mammoth it’s 2022 Champion this past weekend. At a sold out KeyBank Center in Buffalo the Mammoth beat the Bandits 10-8 to win the best of three series 2-1. Dillon Ward was named the playoff MVP in the victory.
How It Happened:
Although the goalies seemed a bit shaky in the opening few minutes, both settled in showing once again why they were considered two of the greatest netminders of all time. Dillon Ward made 55 saves (a playoff record for saves in one game) in the victory, while Matt Vinc made 37 saves in the loss.
Zed Williams led the way for Colorado scoring three times, including an empty net goal with just 0:26 seconds left in the game. Kyle Buchanan led the Bandits with a hat-trick.
A Character Win:
The most amazing thing about the victory was that the Mammoth had lost their top two scorers before the series even began. Ryan Lee, Colorado’s leading scorer, had been out the entire playoffs with a leg injury.
Eli McLaughlin and Connor Robinson had taken the reigns leading the Mammoth to victory over San Diego, and were looking to repeat that chemistry during the Buffalo series. In fact, during the San Diego series McLaughlin had sock-tricks (6 goals per game) in two of the three games. However that wasn’t to be. McLaughlin suffered an injury just prior to game one of the finals. Things looked dire for the Mammoth.
The adage “Great teams find ways to win no matter what!” has never been more true. The Colorado “Next Man Up” mentality had been prevelant all through the playoffs, and this was just another example of “Who was going to step up next?”
Enter Zed Williams:
Williams has always been a clutch player in both field and box lacrosse. Colorado made a deal for him in the off season, and he paid dividends in the playoffs. A big, strong man, with a howitzer for a shot, was able to dictate how the Buffalo defense was going to play while he was on the floor. If they keyed on him, Connor Robinson and the rest of the Mammoth offense would have great opportunities. If they didn’t pay enough attention to him, he would be able to get chances himself both in close, and from a distance.
A lot of credit has to be given to Head Coach Pat Coyle and his coaching staff. No matter what the situation, there was never a ruffled demeanor on the bench. It was always grace under pressure, setting up a game plan, and following that plan to the letter.
Defence Wins Championships:
With a back end of Captain Robert Hope, Scott Carnegie, Warren Jeffrey, John Lintz etc., and with All-Star goalie Dillon Ward in net, this team was destined for great things. An explosive transition game with Joey Cupido gave the Mammoth even more weapons.
Trade Deadline Moves:
The Mammoth picked up former first overall draft pick Tyson Gibson on offense, as well as Anthony Joaquim on defense. Both players were instrumental to Colorado hoisting the cup this year.
NLL State Of The Union:
One year removed from Covid-19 and the league should be very proud of where it has come. The TV deal with ESPN/TSN was a huge success, with much bigger audiences being built everywhere. The ability to watch every game anywhere at all, has brought the game alive in areas that might not have that opportunity in years past.
With the league’s newest team, the Las Vegas Desert Dogs about to pick players in this year’s expansion draft next month, the future is very bright, and very exciting for this league for years to come!
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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 10 years ago. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob had 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).
Mr. Groob 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.