Colorado Snaps 13-Game Home Losing Streak
by Nick Salen | NLL.com
John Grant's overtime goal Saturday against Boston gave Colorado its first home win since April 2009.
DENVER -- It took 708 days, but the Colorado Mammoth (2-8) prevailed over the Boston Blazers (6-7) in an adrenaline pumping 9-8 overtime victory at Pepsi Center, ending a 13-game winless drought at home in front of 17,123 in attendance.
The team's last home victory: April 17, 2009 in a 10-9 victory over Edmonton in the regular season finale.
"We took a big monkey off our back tonight," head coach Bob Hamley commented. "Big credit to the guys, down 8-5 and they just kept battling... That was a pretty potent offense and I thought we beat them up pretty good."
John Grant Jr. netted the game winning goal just over two minutes into the overtime period after the teams exchanged shots on both ends. His game-winner capped off a two goal, 3 assist night, leading the team in points alongside newcomer Joel Dalgarno and his three goal performance on the night.
Josh Sanderson led Boston with six points (1g, 5a). Casey Powell (2g, 1a) and Dan Dawson (1g, 2a) also led the charge for the Blazers in a rather forgetful weekend for the team, according to head coach Matt Sawyer.
"We weren't good this weekend overall offensively," he said. "The lone bright spot has been our power play, but our 5-on-5 offense has been less than desirable."
Boston came into tonight's game after a devastating last-second loss at the hands of the Washington Stealth Friday night. Sitting at .500 and competing against Buffalo and Rochester for a playoff berth only made the game tonight that much more critical.
"Anytime you lose a game, it's tough," Sawyer said. "We were in that game right down until the end, and we didn't come out on top.
"We're battling against Rochester and Philadelphia, every game from here on in is critical."
League points leader Dawson and Kyle Buchanan opened up things for Boston, both capitalizing on an early four-minute power play opportunity.
Newly acquired Mammoth forward Dalgarno earned his first goal
with Colorado late in the quarter.
Powell, second behind Dawson in overall points, tallied his first of the night early in the second stanza. Sanderson and Nick Cotter also scored for Boston in the quarter. For the Mammoth it was Dalgarno again alongside Grant and Alex Gajic to keep the Blazers lead to one going into halftime at 5-4.
Neither team would get more on the board until the 6:44 mark of the third when Cotter fired his second of the night to extend the Blazers lead to two. But moments later, it was Dalgarno again, securing the hat trick and keeping Colorado well within striking distance heading into the final 15 minutes.
The fourth quarter was all Blazers in the opening minutes, netting two early goals to extend their lead. Colorado's Gavin Prout earned his first goal back with his former team, beginning the team's late rally that was finished with scores by Alex Gajic and finally by Dan Carey, who scored with 24 seconds left in regulation.
In the second overtime period in recent weeks at Pepsi Center, it was quite different the second time around (Minnesota won the faceoff and quickly scored in the previous game). The Mammoth won the opening faceoff, but failed to net the game-winner on the possession. Both teams would exchange offensive opportunities before Grant got the feed from Jed Prossner and Carey to bring HealthONE Field up in celebration instead of the familiar heartbreak of defeat.
"It takes a lot to shut them down," Hamley stated. "They're always going to have their shots and Chris Levis was pretty good tonight. I'm proud of my guys."
Levis played a major role in the Mammoth win, recording 38 saves on 46 shots faced and coming up big when the team needed him to, including stopping an early penalty shot by Dawson.
Anthony Cosmo tallied 39 saves off of 48 shots on goal coming off his 41 save night against the Stealth.
The win keeps Colorado in the hunt for the final playoff spot in the West, setting up an enticing home and home match up with the Edmonton Rush next week, the other team eying the last seed. The two teams will meet April 1 in Edmonton and April 2 in Denver.
For the Blazers, they must now find a way to end their four-game losing skid down the stretch. With only three games left (all against East Division teams), it's all hands on deck for Beantown, starting with hosting Rochester next Saturday.
"It's on them to find a way to right this ship and it's not pretty," Sawyer said. "We're not good right now and [the players and coaches] we need to find a way to pull ourselves out of this."