Shawn Slaght, All Lacrosse All The Time – A Division of the Edge of Philly Sports Network
The Colorado Mammoth were able to hold off the Swarm to down Georgia 13-10 on Friday night at Ball Arena.
Earlier in the week, the Mammoth placed goaltender Dillon Ward on the Injury Reserve list. As a welcome surprise, Ward was taken off of the list and back on the active roster shortly before game time.
Meanwhile, Colorado’s transition game took a blow as Joey Cupido was forced to leave the game with an injury.
For Georgia, they have dropped their fifth straight game as they continue to look for the first win. There were some bright spots on Friday night. Rookie goaltender Brett Dobson got the start and stopped 37 of 50 shots to keep Georgia in the game.
There were a few milestones set as well. Robert Hope picked up his 900th career loose ball and Connor Robinson scored his 100th career point. Rhys Duch notched his 1,014th career point to put him 11th all-time, passing Mark Steenhuis. Add into the mix that the Mammoth’s Evan Downey scored his first NLL goal on transition.
Mammoth jump out to first-quarter lead
The Mammoth got the home crowd going early in this match. Brett McIntyre opened the scoring 1:48 into the game to give Colorado the lead.
Chris Wardle would make it two nothing with a shot from the side of the net getting by Dobson.
Bryan Cole would get the Swarm back within one with 7:53 left on the clock. However, the Mammoth replied right back. Robinson took a behind-the-back pass from Wardle and buried it to make it 3-1 after the first quarter.
High-scoring second quarter
Colorado stretched their lead to three goals 1:59 into the third quarter off a goal from Dylan Kinnear.
Lyle Thompson and the Swarm would get right back into the game. Thompson scored a pair of goals 2:23 apart to make it 4-3 for the Mammoth.
Duch put a marker by Dobson with 7:24 left in the second quarter. That was followed up with a power play goal from Shayne Jackson at 5:21.
The Mammoth restored their three-goal cushion with goals from Downey and Eli McLaughlin a little over a minute apart.
Seth Oakes rounded out the first-half scoring to make it 7-5 Mammoth at halftime.
Weathering the Swarm
A huge third quarter would get the Georgia Swarm right back into this game. It started at the 6:54 mark with a goal from Cole to start a three-goal run for Georgia.
Oakes’ bounce shot with 5:41 left in the quarter got by Ward to tie up the game 7-7.
And then a bit of a bizarre play. Adam Wiedemann’s shot got caught up in Ward’s padding and he fell backward into his net. After a lengthy video review, the officials ruled that the ball crossed the line when Ward fell to give Georgia an 8-7 lead.
Not to be outdone, Robinson helped hold off the Swarm with 1:06 left in the quarter to make it 8-8 heading into the fourth.
Colorado holds off the Swarm
Robinson would regain the lead for Colorado 1:20 into the fourth quarter to make it 9-8. Oakes scored his hat trick goal at 8:53 on a wild play. Lyle Thompson found him in front of the net in traffic and he let a no-look behind-the-back shot go to beat Ward.
Unfortunately for the Swarm, the Mammoth took over after that. McLaughlin scored his second of the game to make it 10-9 and Zed Williams got on the board at 6:28 to extend the lead to two.
Andrew Kew answered 26 seconds later to make it 11-10, but Duch scored with 1:00 left in the game and Robinson buried an empty-net goal with 19 seconds left to hold off the Swarm.
Andrew Kew, 1g 7a
Bryan Cole, 2g 2a
Lyle Thompson, 2g 2a
Shayne Jackson, 1g 3a
Connor Robinson, 4g 3a
Rhys Duch, 2g 5a
Chris Wardle, 1g 6a
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Shawn Slaght has been a sports reporter across the Canadian prairies for over 10 years and has experience covering everything from junior hockey to World Cup skiing to all levels of lacrosse. He is the Saskatchewan correspondent for All Lacrosse All The Time.