The Colorado Mammoth have had a heck of a season, looking back on it. Not in the heck of a season sense that they went 16-0, destroying teams along the way en route to a #1 seed and a chance at the cup, but a different kind of heck. Considered a terrible team before John Grant Jr. was traded over to them, the Mammoth started the season in torrid fashion, winding up with a 1-8 record after nine games with the lone win coming on the road against the Calgary Roughnecks. At home the team was a mess, having not won a game in front of the boisterous crowd at Pepsi Center since way back in 2009. The playoffs seemed a long shot with the other teams in the West looking like brilliant squads comparitively.
Times changed and the Mammoth were able to put together an absolutely fabulous run of form to end the season, en route to a last gasp playoff berth. Trades for guys like Joel Delgarno, Ian Hawksbee and former Mammoth captain Gavin Prout worked brilliantly to shore up a league worst defense and offense. Goalkeeper Chris Levis was up and down all season but has looked to be channeling former Mammoth keeper Gee Nash between the pipes with performances holding great teams like the Boston Blazers and Calgary Roughnecks under 10 goals.
Colorado will play their first playoff game in a while today against the Calgary Roughnecks, a team that they were able to beat twice out of three meetings in the regular season. While Calgary certainly has the upside when it comes to talent in this match-up, it is a closer race than you might think. The Mammoth now have several legitimate scoring threats past John Grant Jr. now that Gavin Prout and Joel Delgarno have joined the team and Brian Langtry is finally starting to turn it on and look like the brilliant sniper that we've seen in years past. Even Connor Martin - a disappointment in his first season of NLL action other than his usual hilarious antics - has looked pretty good his last few starts, even scoring a goal against the Minnesota Swarm to give him two on the season.
This game might come down to goaltending. Calgary tender Mike Poulin has looked pretty good while Chris Levis has shown struggles all throughout the year. Matt King hasn't played much better so the Mammoth need to rely on Levis to have a performance like he had against the Roughnecks the week that Colorado clinched their playoff spot, where he kept Calgary to a fantastic 7 goal low. Levis was a surprise all-star this season, now it's time for him to prove why.
A win tonight and the Mammoth get one step closer to their first Champions Cup since 2006. Anything can happen, Go Mammoth!