Mammoth Defeats Rush, Earns Playoff Spot
DENVER - The Colorado Mammoth earned its seventh straight playoff berth Friday night at Pepsi Center with a 10-9 win over the Edmonton Rush. The win was Colorado's seventh on the season and first in its last five games. The loss knocks Edmonton out of playoff contention as they finish their season 5-11.
On a snowy Friday night in Denver that kept many of the 16,000+ ticketholders away from Pepsi Center, the Mammoth rewarded those who braved the conditions and made it out with a remarkable home win. A fitting gift on Fan Appreciation Night, and a memorable outcome on HealthONE Field to cap off what has been an incredibly up and down season for the Mammoth supporters.
In a low scoring opening quarter, the Mammoth jumped out to a lead on Tyler Crompton's ninth goal of the season at the 10:14 mark to make it 1-0. Edmonton answered with a pair of goals over the next seven minutes to take a 2-1 lead. Jimmy Quinlan and Andy Secore each drew rope for the Rush as they held the one goal lead at the end of the quarter.
In a back-and-forth second quarter, Secore continued his terror on the Mammoth with two more goals before five minutes had elapsed from the scoreboard. His hat trick goal at the 11:28 mark made the score 4-1 and the Pepsi Center crowd was silenced. But, less than a minute later, Colorado's offense found a spark in Chris Gill (#25). He scored his 16th goal of the year on a power play effort to cut the Rush lead to 4-2. Only eight seconds later, Brian Langtry rattled the cage and the Mammoth was within one at 4-3. Colorado tied the game at 4-4 on Tyler Crompton's goal with 3:02 remaining in the half. The teams would trade goals in the final two minutes, and when Gill's goal hit the net for Colorado with just 3.8 seconds left on the clock, it sent the teams to the locker room tied 5-5 at the break.
As the teams came out for the second half, neither could get their offense in stride, thanks largely to great defensive and goaltending play on both ends. Former Mammoth goal keeper, Chris Levis was outstanding in net for Edmonton on this night, stopping shot after Colorado shot in the third. Andrew Leyshon was equally brilliant, stoning the Rush on 30 of 39 shot attempts.
Andy Secore did beat Leyshon for what turned out to be his final score of the night - only 43-seconds into the quarter. The goal was Secore's fourth of the night - and that was the only tally of the third quarter for either team. These playoff-determined teams continued to fight end to end as the defenses were forced to step up and play increasingly well. The Rush clutched a slight 6-5 lead heading into what promised to be a tense-filled final quarter.
Mammoth forward Gavin Prout opened the final frame with a game-tying goal at 6-6 as the clock showed 12:31 remaining in one of the team's seasons. Jimmy Quinlan answered for the Rush with a shorthanded score that was eerily similar to his first goal of the evening - a soaring right-handed shot from behind the net. Colorado's Jamie Shewchuk countered with a power play goal less than a minute later and the game was again tied at 7-7. Trading goals within 14-seconds of each other near the 3:50 mark, these two teams traded blows similar to a heavyweight bout. And neither was willing to let the other get an upper hand.
Things changed with 3:18 left when Colorado's Captain Gavin Prout - wearing jersey #9 - beat Edmonton's Levis for his team's ninth goal of the contest. Prout, leaping up on the dasher wall to celebrate his team's lead, could sense this one might be over. That hunch was proven just over a minute later when Shewchuk's second goal of the night put the Mammoth up 10-8, sending the smaller-than-normal crowd at Pepsi Center into party mode.
Mike MacLeod would tack on a final score for the Rush in the closing seconds, but the damage was done. Colorado would hold on for the 10-9 win.
The Mammoth outshot Edmonton 51-39 on the night. Beyond that, the stat sheet seems as even as one would expect. Secore's four goals and two assists led the Rush. Jimmy Quinlan added a pair of goals in the loss. The Mammoth defense did a terrific job in slowing down Rush All-Star Dan Teat. He was able to assist on five goals, but never notched a netter of his own. Ryan Benesch also had five assists for Edmonton.
Colorado had four players notch two goals each. Prout and Shewchuk each added two assists to their goals in rounding out their four-point nights. Chris Gill and Tyler Crompton each had a pair of goals and one assist. Brian Langtry and Gary Rosyski combined for three goals and three assists.
Colorado will now travel to Calgary on Sunday, May 3 for a first round playoff battle against the Roughnecks. The ball drops at 3pm and fans will be able to watch the game online via webcast at ColoradoMammoth.com.
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National Lacrosse League Stories from April 18, 2009
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- Jax Fall To Roughnecks, 12-9 - Portland Lumberjax
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- Mammoth Defeats Rush, Earns Playoff Spot - Colorado Mammoth
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