PANTHER CITY MOVES INTO WILD CARD PICTURE

Written by Muffler Mike Kostiuk

Lax Philly – A Division of Edge of Philly Sports Network

Panther City Lacrosse Club hosted the Colorado Mammoth at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth Saturday night in the final match of the season series. Despite continuing to hold the #2 seed in the West Division, Colorado came into the game with just two wins in their last six games. That stretch included a 20-14 drubbing at home, courtesy of Panther City in Week 15.

Panther City, meanwhile, had won four straight games since entering Week 13 with a 1-8 record. The streak has taken the expansion squad from being a virtual lock for the #2 pick in the 2022 Entry Draft to the outside of the playoff window, their chemistry and confidence visibly progressing with each game. That progression showed once again, as eight different Panther City players scored in a 10-6 victory that came while losing defensemen Ryan McLean and Josh Medeiros to injuries during the game.

Roaring Out

Panther City came out firing in the first quarter with four goals to Colorado’s none. Medeiros scored just 14 seconds into the game. Cam Milligan (2g) followed up with a power play marker at 7:48. Will Malcom (1g, 4a; 10:32) and Phil Caputo (2g, 1a; 11:11) closed the frame, while goalie Nick Damude turned away all 9 shots he faced.

Action was furious through the second quarter, but the scoreboard remained the same until the 10:17 mark, when Erik Turner broke through for the Mammoth. Nearly two minutes later, Milligan had his second power-play goal to push the lead back to four. Chris Wardle responded with a power play goal of his own to make it 5-2 PCLC at the half.

Everyone Pitches In For Panther City

The third quarter somewhat mirrored the second, as the scoreboard again remained unchanged until the last 5 minutes of the quarter. Caputo’s second on a power play (9:58) made it 6-2, before Connor Robinson (1g, 1a; 10:39) and Wardle’s second (13:01) cut the deficit to two.

Wardle’s hat-trick goal (0:51 Fourth Quarter) made it a one-goal game, but Panther City would not be denied. Dean Fairall (1g, 1a; 6:31) and Patrick Dodds (1g, 4a; 8:33) pushed the lead to 8-5. Zed Williams (9:34) tried to ignite yet another Colorado comeback, but Nathan Grenon (13:47; shorthanded) and Liam Byrnes (14:50; empty net) closed the book on Panther City’s fifth straight win.

3 Stars of the Game

  • 1st Star: Nick Damude (44 saves)
  • 2nd Star: Matt Hossack (1a, 13 Loose Balls, 2 Caused Turnovers)
  • 3rd Star: Patrick Dodds

Other Stats of Note

  • Power Play: COL 1 of 4; PCLC 3 of 5
  • Jeremy Thompson (PCLC): 13 of 20 on faceoffs
  • Mammoth forwards Ryan Lee (3a) and Eli McLaughlin (2a) were both held without a goal
  • With the win, Panther City LC (6-8) moves into two vital positions in the playoff picture:
  • They are now a half-game back of Vancouver (6-7) for the secure #3 seed in the West Division
  • With Albany’s loss (6-9) this week, Panther City is also a half-game behind Philadelphia (6-7) for the “Wild Card” playoff spot
“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk

“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 with the game, he has since become an avid follower of the National Lacrosse League. Following the postponement of the 2019-2020 NLL season, Lax Philly founders Kevin Neibauer and Gary Groob offered Muffler 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 Lax Philly’s correspondent for both the Albany FireWolves and New York Riptide.

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