Where to begin? The Colorado Mammoth came into this past weekend looking to leave the problems of their season opening loss to the Seals behind them. And although there was significant improvement on the backend, the offense was once again anemic and lacking, and Colorado now finds itself in a 0-2 hole to start the season. This slow start won’t help them down the road, and if they can’t figure things out soon, they may find themselves fighting for that fourth playoff spot.
But, let’s look at the positives first. Dillon Ward looked a lot more comfortable in his second outing compared to his first, and although 28 saves on 38 shots faced isn’t great, it’s better, and it’s good to see him finding his form again. The time off between games (fifteen days) gave Ward adequate time to prepare and make adjustments to his game, and it showed. The defense looked more comfortable as well, as first-year defensive coordinator Andrew McBride seems to have his boys acquainted with his defensive system now. And guys like Timmy Edwards (14-18 on faceoffs) were doing all that they could to pull out the W, but it was for naught. To be fair, Calgary played an excellent game, and even though they were missing the likes of Curtis Dickson, Wes Berg, Jesse King and Tyler Pace, the Roughnecks still managed to put up 11 goals and secure the win – in the Pepsi Center, no less.
But, coming back around to the problem area, eight goals for in a game is not a stat-line any team wants to read. So, here we are again. You have to wonder when, and if, the Mammoth offense will find its groove. I did the same thing in my last Mammoth write-up so I’m going to do it again here: Chris Wardle, Jacob Ruest, Stephen Keogh, Jeremy Noble and Eli McLaughlin had three goals combined. Three goals combined. Their leading scorer after two games is Ryan Benesch with eight points. However you want to frame it, it just isn’t good enough. Sure, Calgary’s Christian Del Bianco didn’t help the cause by any means, stopping 41 of the 49 shots, but the Colorado offense repeated their performance from their season opener, with lots of shots from the outside, less-than-crisp ball movement and subpar off-ball movement.
It was 5-5 at halftime and the Colorado Mammoth looked poised to strike but right out of the gate Calgary struck for two fast ones and there was no looking back, as the Roughnecks won the third quarter and outscored the Colorado Mammoth 6-3 down the stretch. I’ve talked before about the Mammoth’s lack of offensive production, but in addition to that, it’s the timeliness of their scoring that can be an issue too. Calgary was vulnerable and without their biggest stars, and Colorado let the game slip away. It’s a pattern that can’t continue to be repeated (and I don’t want to have to be rehashing this discussion each week).
This time, the Colorado Mammoth don’t have the luxury of two weeks off to fix any lingering issues, as they’re right back at it this weekend against the Rock at home on Saturday night. And maybe that’s a good thing. They don’t have time to be complacent; they don’t even have time to worry about their lack of production. It’s still an ‘any given night’ league, and I still don’t expect the Mammoth to be plagued by these problems for long. All it’ll take is one good night from one of their offensive guys to spark the rest of the squad, and that’s where the veterans will have to step in. But, maybe a young guy like Ryan Lee can be the guy to light the fire. We’ll just have to wait and see this weekend.
Roughnecks – 11 Mammoth – 8 Final