DENVER - On a night when Mammoth forward John Grant Jr., the National Lacrosse League's reigning Most Valuable Player, scored five goals and six assists, his performance was overshadowed by Colorado's stellar goaltending.
Matt Roik played all but six-and-a-half minutes, stymieing the Minnesota Swarm in the Mammoth's 15-9 home victory at Pepsi Center on 'Lacrosse Out Cancer' Night.
"Matt was very good, especially early," said Colorado head coach Bob Hamley. "We go to halftime [leading] 9-4 and it was because of Matt Roik."
But the performance wasn't without controversy. With 6:29 remaining in the 4th quarter and the Mammoth leading 13-8, the officials ruled, after a lengthy discussion and stoppage, that the Colorado netminder had an illegal glove. He was issued a game misconduct and sent off the floor.
"He said it was an add-on to the glove," said Hamley, referring to the official who gave him an explanation on the bench. "We'll get it straightened out this week, and it didn't hurt us so we'll move on."
Initially when the Mammoth coach spoke to the official, the discussion indicated that Roik's glove was deemed legal. But after a conversation with the Swarm bench, the official opted to err on the side of caution and appeared to change his mind.
In the locker room, Roik showed his coach the glove. A tear in the fabric might have caused the disturbance and the penalty.
Dan Lewis, who was signed by Colorado on Tuesday, stopped seven of the eight shots he faced down the stretch.
The Mammoth's special teams outplayed that of its opponent. Colorado converted four of five power-play opportunities. Minnesota scored just once on five tries. But, according to Mammoth forward Jamie Lincoln, who had his first hat trick of the season, it was an all-around team effort.
"We had a really good team win. When everyone does their job, and everyone does what they can do on both sides of the ball, we get good results."
Joel Dalgarno referenced the collective effort, and said that "working hard is the main focus."
The entire Mammoth team lived by the mantra on Saturday night. Rookie Jaeden Gastaldo, a fifth-round draft pick, scored his first goal and added an assist in his NLL debut. Transition player Ilija Gajic won 55% of his face-offs and scooped 11 loose balls. And captain Gavin Prout chipped in five points.
"We're a good team and we can do what we need to do if we follow the game-plan," said Grant.
For much of the game, the Mammoth did just that. Colorado won on HealthONE Field at Pepsi Center for the first time this season and improved to 2-2. Minnesota remains winless (0-3) on the road, and dropped to 1-3 overall.
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