Uncasville – In a game with playoff implications for both teams, a pair of fourth-quarter goals by Callum Crawford proved decisive as the Colorado Mammoth edged the New England Black Wolves 12-10 on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena.
With the scored tied 10-10, Crawford stole an outlet pass from New England goalie Evan Kirk and beat the goalie 5:10 into the fourth quarter. The score was still 11-10 with 1:53 remaining when Crawford beat Kirk on a power play goal to close out the scoring.
“It’s a good team so you don’t want to over-react but you don’t want to under-react,” New England coach Glenn Clark said of Colorado. “At times you fall into that trap as a team of reading your own press clippings and thinking you have arrived. And as soon as you do that, you’re done. I think we were a little sloppy at times. We turned the ball over, we weren’t crisp and purposeful on the floor.”
Colorado – locked in a tight battle for first place in the West Division with Saskatchewan – had already clinched a playoff berth. By holding off the Black Wolves in a game that featured five ties and six lead changes, the Mammoth (10-3) secured a home playoff game.
New England (7-5), meanwhile, fell further behind the Buffalo Bandits (9-4) in the race for the top spot in the East Division. Buffalo was an 18-14 winner at Georgia on Saturday night. The Black Wolves, meanwhile, were trying to keep pace with Buffalo in the race for first place in the East Division.
“I think it was our game to lose,” said New England’s Shawn Evans, who led the team with four goals. “I think if we played the same way we had in the last couple of games, we would have had the upper edge. I know the defense we played against (tonight), they played a little bit differently. They put a little more pressure on us to make us make decisions. Obviously, tonight we didn’t make the right decisions.”
This was the third time in two seasons that Colorado has won close games over the Black Wolves. The Mammoth edged visiting New England 14-13 back on March 5th at the Pepsi Center, and also prevailed, 14-12 at Mohegan Sun Arena last February 22nd.
Entering the night, Evans was third in the league with 82 points while Crawford was fourth with 77 points. Each took turns sparking their respective offenses.
Crawford finished with five goals and four assists while teammate Eli McLaughlin had three goals and an assist.
Pat Saunders had a pair of goals for the Black Wolves while Kevin Buchanan (one goal, three assists), Kevin Crowley (one goal, two assists) and Kyle Buchanan (one goal, two assists) paced the New England attack.
The Black Wolves are in action again next Friday night, hosting Saskatchewan at 7 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena.