Mammoth complete National Lacrosse League playoff field

Matt Vinc stopped 45 of the 49 shots he faced as Rochester beat Buffalo 8-4. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
Matt Vinc stopped 45 of the 49 shots he faced as Rochester beat Buffalo 8-4. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

The Colorado Mammoth  (7-10) made sure they were headed to the playoffs by putting up their biggest offensive output of the year in an 18-12 win over the Minnesota Swarm (4-13). Colorado clinched third place in the West Division and a first-round playoff date in Calgary by scoring at least 4 goals in each quarter against the Swarm, despite being outshot 63-48 in the game. Everything just seemed to find a way behind the Minnesota goaltenders, especially in the fourth quarter when the Mammoth scored 5 goals on just nine shots.

Athan Iannucci led all scorers with 8 points on 2 goals and 6 assists. Adam Jones scored 4 goals–including one on the power play and one shorthanded–and added as assist. John Grant Jr. had a hat trick and 2 assists. The first goal was a big one as it was the 600th of his career, making him just the third player ever to reach that milestone (along with Gary Gait and John Tavares). Logan Schuss led the way for the Swarm with 4 goals and 3 assists.

Minnesota actually led 5-4 after the first quarter, but the Mammoth took control with a 5-1 second period. The Swarm closed the gap to within 10-8 by scoring the first two goals of the third quarter, but as they would do throughout the game, the Mammoth responded quickly, in this case scoring just 33 seconds after the second of the goals.

In the other game with playoff implications, the Buffalo Bandits (8-9) missed another chance to clinch second place in the East Division when they lost 8-4 to the Rochester Knighthawks (13-4). Buffalo scored the only goal of the first period but then Rochester took over in the second, outscoring the Bandits 4-1. As has been the case through most of their seven-game losing streak, the offence has been the primary problem for Buffalo, which has scored just 57 games in the losses for an average of barely over 8 goals per game. Johnny Powless led all scorers with 3 goals and an assist. Cody Jamieson pulled within 2 points of Garrett Billings for the league scoring championship with three on the night, giving him 99 for the season.

The Calgary Roughnecks (11-6) built some confidence in case they get to meet Edmonton (15-2) in the West Division finals, downing the Rush 14-13 in overtime behind an incredible 7-goal performance by Curtis Dickson that included the winner. Shawn Evans kept himself in the race to defend his scoring championship with 3 goals and 3 assists to give him 98 points overall while Dane Dobbie and Daryl Veltman each chipped in a goal and 6 assists. The Rush got hat tricks from an expected source–Mark Matthews–and an unexpected one in defender Chris Corbeil, although it’s not a total surprise as Corbeil now has 16 goals on the season to handily lead all defenders.

In the final game of the night, Kevin Croswell stepped in to start in goal for the Philadelphia Wings (6-11) after having played only 2:43 all season. He promptly gave up two goals in the first minute and 10 seconds of the game. But after that, he found his groove, making a total of 40 saves on the 51 shots he faced to earn the 15-11 win over the Vancouver Stealth (4-12). The Wings put forth a balanced attack, getting goals from 11 different players and points from 14. The Stealth, who knew they were eliminated from the playoffs because of Colorado’s win, got a pair of hat tricks from Brett Bucktooth and Jamie Lincoln.

Colorado 18, Minnesota 12
NLL.com game story
Box score

Rochester 8, Buffalo 4
NLL.com game story
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Calgary 14, Edmonton 13 OT
NLL.com game story
Box score

Philadelphia 15, Vancouver 11
NLL.com game story
Box score

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 stamplax@hotmail.com.

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