Had you told your average Colorado Mammoth fan that they would be seeing the playoffs this year at the start of the season, you probably would have gotten some strange looks. A 1-8 record at one point of the season seemed to doom the Mammoth as the season went along, but shrewd moves by the team at the trade deadline led to a far more talented team ending the season than starting it.
In a “Win and you’re in” situation, Colorado showed a lot of toughness against their possible first round opponent the Calgary Roughnecks, winning themselves a great game and a playoff berth in the process. After both this and that impressive game that the Mammoth came within a goal of winning back in Calgary last weekend, there is little doubt that the Mammoth will be ready, willing and able to try and make some noise in the playoffs.
The first quarter ended deadlocked 2-2, with Jamie Floris and Gavin Prout tallying for the Mammoth. Chris Levis looked shaky, allowing two goals on seven shots, but the Mammoth offense was working hard – they had sixteen shots in comparison to the seven for Calgary – and were able to keep the possession more in favor of the home side. The second quarter followed suit with Colorado outshooting Calgary 26-18 and it finally began to pay off, as the Mammoth started picking their shots and were able to get a 5-3 lead into halftime.
In the third, Chris Levis really turned his game on and began to make some saves reminiscent of Colorado’s old goaltender, the great Gee Nash. The Roughnecks actually managed to outshoot the Mammoth by the time the period had ended, 35-32. Thanks to good defense, great play by Chris Levis between the pipes and an impressive looking lone goal by forward Dan Carey, the lead remained for the Mammoth even as Calgary chipped away. The score was 6-5 going into the fourth.
Joel Delgarno -the biggest pick up of the trade deadline, surpassing even Gavin Prout and defender Ian Hawksbee – scored a nice looking goal at the start of the fourth to extend the Mammoth lead back to two, and John Grant Jr. scored after that to get the lead back to three. The lead would not be relinquished after that point and the Mammoth were clearly adrenaline driven by the fantastic Pepsi Center crowd, as the goals began to pile on. Even a late attempt at a rally fell short when Steve Toll – a defensiveman! – scored on an open net and gave the Mammoth a five goal cushion with five minutes remaining. At that point it was really all down to the Mammoth wasting some time.
Either way, it’s time for the playoffs if you’re a Mammoth fan, and DAMN it feels good to be back.