In some sports, being down four goals with less than five minutes left to play is insurmountable. Indoor lacrosse is not one of those sports. In box lacrosse, no lead is truly safe until the final buzzer goes. Something the Calgary Roughnecks were reminded of by the Colorado Mammoth.
As expected, Geoff Snider dominated in the faceoff circle, winning all but three. An important statistic to keep in mind as the clock is winding down and every possession is important and can impact the game. Snider also left his mark with two goals and an assist, although when it counted most in overtime, Matt Roik kept him from scoring the game winner on the first overtime possession.
Both teams came out looking a little rough in the first quarter. It’s only their second game of the season, so you expect some roughness. But whereas the Roughnecks shook it off fairly quickly and started getting down to business, the Mammoth struggled to even catch basic passes. Calgary started off the scoring and maintained a 2-4 goal lead for almost the entire game. Every time the Mammoth would battle back bringing the game back within two, Calgary would score again to keep the lead out of Colorado’s reach.
John Grant Junior was one of the few Mammoth players able to get past Mike Poulin and he scored a sock trick of goals, scoring on six of his twenty shots. Going in to the fourth quarter, JGJ had scored 5 of Colorado’s 8 points. Jamie Lincoln was able to find the back of the net several times, but he also couldn’t seem to stay off the crease as nearly every single one of them was waived off for crease violation.
As per usual, the refs were suspect. I was honestly starting to wonder if they could recognize anything other than slashing after missing plenty of holding, tripping and cross checks. And before you start decrying homer on me, I’m not saying they were favoring one side or the other, I’m simply saying they were very narrowly focused on what they called. Not to mention, I am forced to question the quality of a refereeing staff when the head ref does not seem to know the difference between signaling a goal versus signaling no goal. Something that actually occurred twice during the game. Once on the floor after a Jamie Lincoln goal and again upon review of another Jamie Lincoln goal. Upon review of the Mammoth challenge, Lincoln’s foot was clearly in the crease before he shot the ball and yet Gregory Hart (I believe this was ref number 24) comes out of the box and clearly signals goal before enough time goes by for plenty of people to mutter a loud what the hell?! Before he corrects himself and waives the goal off. Seriously?! If you can’t get a simple call like that right, how can I honestly be led to believe that any other call or no call during the game was correct?
But I digress. We were discussing the first three quarters where JGJ had already notched 5 goals to Roughneck Shawn Evans’s 4. Goals. Calgary was spreading their scoring around and Colorado had already swapped goalie Chris Levis for Matt Roik after Levis apparently injured himself trying to block a goal from Geoff Snider. This wasn’t the only goalie swapping the Mammoth were forced to do, but we’ll get to that in a moment. So the third quarter ends with the Roughnecks up by 3 goals, sitting comfortably at 11 to the Mammoth’s 8. I can probably count on one hand the number of goal’s longtime Mammoth Defenseman John Gallant has had. Ok, maybe not, as his is now up to 13, but you get the picture, it’s a rare occurrence for him and yet, he scored on Matt Poulin in the second quarter.
Jeff Shattler scored early on in the 4th quarter on a power play for Calgary to give them a four goal lead which looked pretty secure the way the Mammoth had been playing. Mammoth had struggled for most of the game on rebounds, catching passes, penalties, shot selection, crease violations and simply put were not playing overly well. The Roughnecks on the other hand, while not running away with the game, were certainly doing just enough to keep the game out of reach like an annoying brother holding your toy just slightly too high. Colorado wouldn’t give up though. Sean Pollock scored early on for the Mammoth but yet again, the goal was waived off for crease violation. With about seven minutes left, Matt Roik is forced out of net after blocking a shot with his groin. Chris Levis returns briefly, but after being on the receiving end of a Dane Dobbie crease dive, limps back off the floor and Roik comes in to close out the game. With only minutes to go, the Colorado Mammoth start to turn it around, scoring four goals in about three minutes to tie up the game.
The clock is winding down, only seconds remain. And both teams are scrumming in front of the Calgary net. JGJ recovers the ball, he shoots and Poulin comes up with a beautiful save, blocking with his right shoulder before he rolls with the ball to his left and away from the crease, sending the game into overtime. Right off Snider wins the faceoff and runs the ball down the floor on a breakaway, he shoots and Roik blocks. Mammoth get the ball but it’s called back on an over and back. Calgary gets the ball and Shattler comes up short. It quickly becomes apparent what the Mammoth strategy is. Give the ball to Junior. Creighton Reid was wide open at one point but rather than take the shot, he dumps the ball to JGJ who attempts an awkward behind the back shot that fails. Curtis Dickson gets a shot off for Calgary, but again, is blocked by Roik. Mammoth take the ball down to the other end and in a surprising turn of events actually succeed in recovering the shot rebounds. JGJ is not able to score, but on the seventh, yes, you read that right, seventh attempt, Sean Pollock scores the winning goal to end the game.
Colorado Mammoth 13, Calgary Roughnecks 12 OT
1st Star – John Grant Junior, with eight points on the night, six of which were from goals can you honestly not pick him?
2nd Star – Mike Poulin, despite the loss, Poulin was phenomenal in net and made several key saves that could have easily changed the momentum of the game. Even in overtime, it took the Mammoth peppering him with shots before one went in.
3rd Star – Gavin Prout. This was a tough choice. With one goal and six assists, though, Prout definitely had an impact on the game. Shawn Evans with four goals on eight shots and three assists, as well as Geoff Snider whose dominance in the faceoff circle and two goals and an assist also had an impact were very close contenders.
Around the League
Philadelphia Wings 8, Toronto Rock 7
Buffalo Bandits 14, Rochester Knighthawks 13
Edmonton Rush , Washington Stealth