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Preview: New England Black Wolves at Colorado Mammoth


New England Black Wolves (7-8) At Colorado Mammoth (10-6)
Pepsi Center
Saturday, April 14, 9:00 p.m. ET
Live on NLLTV

 

Last Game: The New England Black Wolves won 13-12 in overtime at home over the Calgary Roughnecks on Sunday, April 8th. The Colorado Mammoth fell 11-8 on the road to the Saskatchewan Rush on Saturday, April 7th.

 

Players to Watch: New England – Through 15 games, Kevin Crowley leads the Black Wolves with 63 points on a team-leading 44 goals and 19 assists. Stephan Leblanc leads New England in assists (39) ranks second in points (59).  Reilly O’Connor is second on the team in assists with 31. Jay Thorimbert leads the team with 123 loose balls.

 

Colorado – In 16 games, Ryan Benesch leads Colorado in goals (34), assists (53) and points (87). Jeremy Noble ranks second on the Mammoth in points (73) and assists (52). Stephen Keogh is second on the team in goals with 29. Robert Hope leads the Mammoth with 126 loose balls.

 

Noteworthy:

• New England is 0-1 against Colorado this season. The Black Wolves fell 19-11 at home to the Mammoth back on February 18th.

• With three regular season games left, the Black Wolves are just one game out of first place in the East.

• After last week’s overtime win over Calgary, New England snapped a four-game losing streak and is now 3-0 in overtime games and 4-0 in games decided by one goal this season. The Mammoth are 4-1 in games decided by one goal.

• The Black Wolves are third in the league in penalty killing percentage (52.1).

• Crowley recorded his sixth straight hat trick, his eighth in nine games and his 11th overall this season. He extended his streak of games with at least one goal to 34 games, and now has a league-leading 44 goals on the year. Crowley needs just two more goals to break his single-season career-high of 45, set last season.

• Callum Crawford scored a season-high five goals against Calgary.

• With 41 saves against Calgary, Aaron Bold set a new single-season career-high with a league-leading 585 saves on the season.

• Thorimbert is second in the NLL in faceoff wins (210) and seventh in loose balls (123).

• Colorado has lost two straight games, but have already clinched a playoff berth.

• The Mammoth are second in the NLL in penalty killing percentage (53.3) and fourth in power play conversion percentage (54.1).

• Colorado ranks second in the league in average goals against (10.88 per game).

• Benesch is fourth in the NLL in points (87), fifth in assists (53) and sixth in goals (34).

• Noble ranks sixth in the league in assists (52) and is tied for ninth in points (73).

• Hope is tied for fifth in the league in loose balls with 126.

• Dillon Ward is third amongst goaltenders in goals against average (10.86 per game).

 

New England Black Wolves coach Glenn Clark

Opening Statement
“Right back at it again this weekend, the importance of the game is equal to what we faced this past weekend. It’s another big challenge, a very difficult building to win in against a very good team. Our position really hasn’t changed from last weekend in terms of the perceived level of desperation that we have to win games because we’re up against it, it’s still tight, but we need to take care of our end of the equation if we want a chance to get to the playoffs.”

 

What did you do well against Calgary last weekend?
“I liked a lot of aspects. I thought we moved the ball well on offense. We obviously did well on our man-down offense and we needed to. We took those two five minute majors in pretty close proximity and ended up coming out on the positive end scoring-wise. That was a big turning point in the game because if you give up four goals on those majors and now you’re really in trouble. That was a big part of the game so obviously, I was happy with that. I thought our competitiveness and our intensity and big plays down the stretch by certain individuals was big. I think we got good games out of a lot of different guys, which is what you need to win in this league. Calgary is a difficult opponent; letting them score with 40 seconds left could have taken the wind out of everybody’s sails, but we found a way to make a big play and Steph (Stephan Leblanc) made a big individual play, which is what you need out of your players. There was a lot to like, still things to tweak and improve on, but certainly the effort, the competitiveness and the way we just kept battling back was nice to see.”

 

How tough will it be going up against Colorado?
“Very tough. They play fast, they’re very athletic, very disciplined.  You won’t get away with being loose against them. You have to play a disciplined game, you have to play a systematic game because they are very disciplined, very structured, very hardworking and skilled. They obviously have Ryan Benesch, (Zack) Greer, (Stephen) Keogh and (Jeremy) Noble. They have offensive weapons that can really hurt you and Dillon Ward in net is one of the premier goalies in the league. They’re very well-rounded and they’re a huge challenge, but most teams in this league are. With nine teams in the league, the talent is so thick there are no gimmies, they don’t exist.”

 

Next game: The New England Black Wolves faceoff against the Rochester Knighthawks at Blue Cross Arena on Saturday, April 21st at 7:30 p.m. ET. For details, visit blackwolves.com.