Written by “Muffler” Mike Kostiuk
Lax Philly – A Division of Edge of Philly Sports Network
The Colorado Mammoth traveled to Gas South Arena in Gwinnett, County, Georgia to open the 2021-2022 NLL season against the Georgia Swarm. Colorado dominated the action almost from the start, and used a second-half surge to propel themselves to a 16-11 victory.
Less than a minute into the game, 2019-2020 MVP Shayne Jackson (3g, 1a) picked up right where he left off when the COVID pandemic hit, beating goaltender Dillon Ward for a 1-0 Georgia lead. Unfortunately for the home crowd, that would be the Swarm’s only lead of the game. Zed Williams (2g, 1a), acquired by Colorado from Georgia during the 600+ day layoff, would score the first of five consecutive Mammoth goals, beating Mike Poulin at the 6:35 mark. Ryan Lee (5g, 3a) then began his stellar night, scoring the first of three shorthanded goals by Colorado at 7:02. Tyler Digby (2g, 2a) followed a minute later, and Eli McLaughlin (3g, 3a) closed the first quarter scoring at 13:57.
Connor Robinson (2g, 3a) found the back of the net at 3:20 in his Mammoth debut, before Lyle Thompson (1g, 3a) stopped the bleeding at 4:12. Brendan Bomberry (1g, 3a) scored Georgia’s only power play goal (1 for 7) of the night to close the gap to 5-3. Lee (from Williams and McLaughlin) and Bryan Cole (2g, 1a) traded scores to make it 6-4 Mammoth at the half.
The first half of the third quarter saw the teams trade goals back and forth: Jackson netted his second goal, Lee his third, Cole his second, Williams his second, and Jordan Hall (1g, 3a) his only goal of the night to cut the Mammoth lead to one at 8-7. Shortly after that, Cole was whistled for cross-checking, and Colorado went on another big run to put the game out of reach.
Digby scored a power play goal at 8:06 (Colorado was 1 for 3 on the power play for the game). 30 seconds later, Lee netted his fourth. Joey Cupido lit the lamp at 13:06, then McLaughlin scored his second less than 30 seconds later to close the 3rd quarter with Colorado up 12-7.
Chris Wardle (0:35) and Robinson (4:24; shorthanded) extended the lead to 14-7.
Tanner Buck scored his first career NLL goal at 5:17 to stop the second instance of bleeding, but McLaughlin struck again shorthanded for his hat trick goal to make it 15-8. Jackson completed his hat trick at 6:56, followed by Jordan McIntosh (6:56) and Vaughn Harris (13:23) to cut the deficit to 4, but it was too little, too late. Lee closed the scoring with his 5th goal of the night at 14:17.
3 Stars of the Game
1st Star: Ward (42 sv, 1a)
2nd Star: Jackson
3rd Star: Lee
Other Stats of Note
Robert Hope (COL) led all players with 11 loose balls
Tim Edwards (COL): 20 of 29 on faceoffs
Wardle (COL): 4 assists
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, he made an association with Kevin Neibauer of Lax Philly, who convinced him to come on board and write for them. The rest 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.
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’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.