Written by “Muffler” Mike Kostiuk
Lax Philly – A Division of Edge of Philly Sports Network
The New York Riptide (4-9) traveled to Ball Arena to play the Colorado Mammoth (8-6) in only the fifth Monday night game in NLL history. Both teams had played a game earlier in the weekend, with vastly different results. The Riptide had an uncharacteristically flat performance in losing to Philadelphia, while Colorado handed Buffalo just their second loss of the season.
More misfortune befell the Riptide when leading scorer Callum Crawford suffered an injury during warmups and was scratched. Despite battling hard for three quarters, the Riptide came up empty in the last 15 minutes, losing 10-7. New York drops to 4-10 and effectively out of the playoff picture. Colorado improves to 9-6, remains the #2 seed in the West, and are one game back of San Diego for the division lead with three games to play.
The effects of playing a doubleheader (or playing on a Monday night) appeared to show early in the game. While the action remained end-to-end and intensity levels were high, passing was less than crisp, and scrambles for loose balls seemed endless. Over 10 minutes elapsed before Jeff Teat (2g, 1a; 10:45) netted the first goal of the game.
Colorado responded with four unanswered goals. Chris Wardle (12:32) and Ryan Lee (1g, 5a; 13:19) on a beautiful crease dive made it 3-1 after the first frame.
The second quarter saw Connor Robinson (2g, 1a; 1:43) and Eli McLaughlin (4g, 1a; 3:53) extend the Mammoth lead to 4-1. Dan MacRae (8:39) and Connor Kearnan (1g, 2a; 12:59) brought the Riptide back within one before Robinson tallied his second of the game 15 seconds later. At halftime, the Mammoth led 5-3.
A Wooly Finish
McLaughlin opened the second half with his second of the night just 48 seconds into the third frame. New York slowly and methodically chipped into that lead. A beautiful crease dive courtesy of Scott Dominey (1g, 1a; 4:23) cut the lead to two.
Nearly a minute later (5:18), Dan Lomas (1g, 1a) followed with a dunk from behind the net on a power play to make it 6-5. Two and a half minutes after that (7:44), Jake Fox (1g, 2a) found twine to tie the score at 6.
Disaster almost struck Colorado just before the 10:00 mark. After making a save, goaltender Dillon Ward had the ball fall out of his stick and roll toward his net while attempting an outlet pass. Fortunately, the ball trickled to a stop, and the Mammoth made the most of their lucky break, with McLaughlin notching his hat trick goal at 10:14. Teat added his second of the game about 30 seconds later (10:42), and the game was tied again at 7 entering the final frame.
The fourth quarter proved to be the difference, as Colorado outscored New York 3-0 to seal the win. Warren Jeffrey (7:36) came out of the penalty box just in time to scoop up an errant rebound and beat Riptide goalie Steven Orleman for an 8-7 lead.
McLaughlin would add an insurance goal, his fourth of the night, at 12:34. Jordan Gilles (14:20) would close out an impressive weekend homestand for the Mammoth, who face San Diego in a critical matchup that could decide the West Division title on Saturday April 9.
3 Stars of the Game
- 1st Star: McLaughlin
- 2nd Star: Lee
- 3rd Star: Ward (35 saves, 2a)
Other Stats of Note
- Power Play: NY 1 of 4; COL 0 of 4
- Teat (NY): 7 loose balls (led all players)
- Jay Thorimbert (NY): 12 of 22 on faceoffs; Alex Woodall (COL): 10 of 22
- Joey Cupido (COL): 4 caused turnovers
- Steven Orleman (NY): 41 saves
“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, he has since become an avid follower of the National Lacrosse League. Following the postponement of the 2019-2020 NLL season, he was offered 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 Edge of Philly’s correspondent for both the Albany FireWolves and New York Riptide.