Warriors Reeling After Being Swept By Mammoth

Eduardo Curros – Pacific Correspondent, All Lacrosse All The Time

Week 9 of the NLL kicked off with the Vancouver Warriors hosting the Colorado Mammoth in their second meeting this season. Both teams came in at 2-4 for the season, so wins will become more precious if either team is to secure a playoff berth with the new Unified Standings format. The turnaround in Vancouver has not gone as planned but some changes are noticeable. Meanwhile, Colorado has had a slow start to this season with multiple injures, including goaltender Dillon Ward. However, they are quickly approaching full strength again, and with that could come a return to NLL Cup contender status.

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Two first half runs put Warriors in a deep hole

Colorado’s Eli McLaughlin started the game with a bang, scoring a natural hat trick in the first quarter. First one at 4:54 with help from Chris Wardle and Dylan Kinnear. Second was a power play goal at 6:54, with assists from Tyson Gibson and Wardle, and the last was an unassisted goal at 10:19. Adam Charalambides scored the Warriors’ only goal of the opening frame at 13:55, with assists from Keegan Bal and Riley Loewen.

Colorado unleashed another flurry of goals in the second quarter that gave the Warriors a seemingly insurmountable task to stay in the game. Connor Robinson scored 18 seconds in with help from Connor Kelly and McLaughlin. Mammoth rookie defender Sean Kriwokon added his first career goal unassisted at 0:56, then Kelly scored with help from Gibson and McLaughlin at 5:21. Just when Vancouver’s woes could not get worse, Gibson scored another power play goal at 7:57 seconds with help from Robinson and McLaughlin. Bal broke the Mammoth run at 9:04 with help from Kevin Crowley.

However, Colorado just kept pouring it on, as Zed Williams added another power play goal with help from Robinson and Gibson at 11:00. Gibson then added his second goal of the quarter with help from McLaughlin at 12:47. Bal scored the last goal of the quarter for the Warriors at 13:58 with help from Charalambides and Owen Grant. But Colorado had a commanding 9-3 lead at halftime.

Will the real Vancouver please stand up?

Colorado continued their scoring barrage on Vancouver with McLaughlin starting it at 3:17, with help from Kinnear and Warren Jeffrey. Vancouver would score back-to-back goals with Ryan Martel at 4:20, then Tyson Kirkness scoring his first NLL goal with help from Reid Bowering at 6:48. Colorado expanded their lead to 12-5 with markers from McLaughlin at 6:55 and Jeffrey from Kriwokon at 10:10.

Loewen started the scoring 58 seconds into the fourth quarter with help from Bal and Charalambides. Wardle replied at 3:04 with help from Williams and Kinnear. Bal would score Vancouver’s only power play goal of the game with help from Charalambides at 4:26. Williams scored at 7:53 with help from Robinson and McLaughlin to make it 14-7. Vancouver would score one last time, thanks to Crowley at 12:10 with help from Bal and Martel. Final score was 14-8 in favor of the Mammoth.

Warriors HC/GM Curt Malawsky had a lot to say after the game, and with good reason. The team had yet another poor performance in front of their second largest home crowd this season. While they had a gritty win over Saskatchewan the week prior, the Warriors have also have been doubled up by Calgary, and lost an overtime game in which they did not score in the second half. Right now, it’s difficult to know which team you’re going to get when Vancouver hits the floor.

“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, 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.