When 2013 started, Colorado had one of the more veteran pairs of netminders in the National Lacrosse League on its roster, with Chris Levis and Matt Roik sharing duties between the pipes. Coming off an 11-5 season and believing it had the makings of a legitimate contender, the Mammoth were counting on the pair to provide enough support behind the league’s highest-scoring offence to make a run at a championship. Seven games and only two wins into the season, though, they’ve cut ties with both veterans in favour of a youth movement in goal.
With Tye Belanger, the Canadian Junior Goalie of the Year and a second-round draft pick in 2012, ready to return to the active roster after having broken his arm playing beach volleyball in the off-season, Colorado has released Roik. That leaves Belanger to battle for the starting spot with Dan Lewis, who was signed to replace Levis about a month ago. “I am very confident in our young goaltending tandem,” Mammoth president and general manager Steve Govett says in the league’s release announcing the move. “I see them backstopping this team well into the future.”
That future begins now and it begins with a pair of goalies who entered this season with a combined total of 31 minutes of NLL experience. The 24-year-old Lewis has lost his only two decisions since rejoining the team this year, but has posted an .800 save percentage and solid 10.26 goals against average. He was the top goalie in the BC Jr A league in 2009 and was instrumental in the Coquitlam Adanacs 2010 Minto Cup win.
Belanger grabbed plenty of attention when he almost carried the Peterborough Lakers to a semi-final win over the powerhouse Orangeville Northmen in the 2011 Ontario Jr A playoffs. He led them to overtime of Game 7 of that series before they fell to the team that has won three of the past five Minto Cups.Stamp is a TV sports announcer and lacrosse lover whose skill set made him a defender but who always dreamed of being a goal-scorer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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