Week 9 of NLL action sees the Warriors (2-4) face off against the Colorado Mammoth (2-4) in their second meeting of the season.
The Mammoth are coming off a strong 13-10 win against the Calgary Roughnecks that saw scoring from their offensive and defensive groups while goaltender Dillon Ward secured his 70th career win, turning aside 27 of the 37 shots he faced.
There were six lead changes through the first three quarters between the Roughnecks and Mammoth, and Colorado finished the fourth with five goals to Calgary’s three to come out victorious.
Forwards Eli McLaughlin and Connor Kelly led the way for Colorado; McLaughlin scoring 2 goals and adding four helpers while Kelly had four goals. The Mammoth also saw scoring from forwards Tyson Gibson, Victoria’s Chris Wardle and Zed Williams, transition Joey Cupido and defencemen Brett Craig, Richmond’s Jordan Gilles, and Tim Edwards.
Surrey native, McLaughlin, who has spent his whole career with Colorado, is leading his team with 29 points (13g, 16a) through six games.
The Mammoth have the second-best penalty kill in the league, with a 71% success rate, while the Warriors are fourth in the league at 65% on the kill.
Vancouver was three for five on the power play in their last game and hope to keep the goals pouring in from Adam Charalambides, Ryan Martel, and Keegan Bal against Colorado. Charalambides leads the Warriors with 29 points (15-14-29), including a seven-point outing against the Rush (4-3-7) and Keegan Bal has 25 points on the season so far — eight goals and 17 assists.
Warriors’ Head Coach and General Manager Curt Malawsky said his team is going to have to control runs against the Mammoth. The last time the teams met in Week 5, Vancouver led 11-5 at the half and the Mammoth went on a six-goal run in the second quarter to push the game to overtime.
“We’re going to have to try to win the special teams battle and guys just have to do their jobs,” Malawsky said. “They have a very good team, it’s a challenge for us now, they beat a very good Calgary team and they’ll be coming in with a lot of momentum. We came back and had a good fourth quarter against Saskatchewan and for the most part, we played pretty much our closest complete game outside of the Georgia game, so I think we’ve got good stuff to build on too.”
The Warriors had a gutsy come-from-behind performance in their most recent 11-9 win against Saskatchewan, and the Warriors will need to keep their momentum going from start to finish against Colorado. The Rush led 4-3 at the end of the first quarter, but Vancouver was scoreless through the second. Down 9-5 heading into the fourth quarter, the Warriors scored the final six goals of the game. Three of the six goals in the final frame were from Charalambides. Bal contributed a hat trick and two assists in the win, and Kevin Crowley scored a pair, while Ryan Martel and Riley Loewen found the back of the net once as well.
Aaron Bold turned aside 38 of 47 shots to pick up his second win of the season.
The Warriors matchup against the Mammoth at Rogers Arena on COLLEGE Night. Opening faceoff is Friday, January 26th at 7 p.m. PT.