Once again, I wasn’t able to see any games this past weekend, so this week’s report will be short. Kudos to the FireWolves for finally ending their losing streak and taking down the Knighthawks and to the surging Swarm for taking down the Rush.
Colorado is one of the mystery teams this season, along with Georgia, Halifax, and Philadelphia. Each of these teams has looked completely dominant at times, but completely hopeless at other times. OK, “completely hopeless” is a bit strong but none of these teams is where we expected them to be. On Saturday, they seemed to be a bit closer to the defending champs we were expecting to see this season. They were without Chris Wardle but the rest of the offense was intact. One of the things that made Colorado dangerous last season was that any one player could be “the guy” and take over a game offensively. Usually it was Ryan Lee but it could easily have been Wardle, McLaughlin, Williams, Robinson, or Kinnear. This season you can add Gibson to that list. But on Saturday, nobody was “the guy” and everybody was. Nobody had more than five points and there were seven different goal scorers. None of the goals were scored by transition guys but when guys like Lintz, Hope, and Sullivan are getting assists, those sound to me like transition goals.
Tim Edwards has always been a pretty good face-off guy – not Snider or Baptiste, but solid, usually around 50-55%. This season, he’s up over 60% and on Saturday he won 71% against Tyrell Hamer-Jackson. And of course, there’s Dillon Ward, who stopped 88% of shots and only allowed five goals. And as good as Ward is, he doesn’t get those kinds of numbers without a solid defence in front of him. The Mammoth get an Awesome this week for playing a full team game, and managing to get great goaltending, defense, transition, and offense all at the same time.
Panther City Offense
Or should I say Calgary defense? As I said I didn’t see the game but Panther City only scored five goals. The time between each of their goals was 7:33, then 18:40, then 13:39, then 24 seconds, then 10:12. Only once did they have two goals within 8 minutes of each other. They always say lacrosse is a game of runs – another way to say that is that momentum is very important. It’s hard not only to win but to even make a game of it when your offense is that spread out. Of course, when the goalie you’re facing is having not only a Goaltender of the Year sort of season, but an MVP sort of season, you can only do so much.
Colorado and Saskatchewan attendance
Yes I know Panther City and Albany are worse, but they weren’t leading the league for many years. The Mammoth have played 178 home games (regular season and playoffs) in their history, and only 14 of those have had attendance below 10,000. All 14 have occurred in the 2022 or 2023 seasons. The 2022 ones (9 of the 14) we can excuse since everyone was just recovering from the pandemic, and attendance was low all around the league. But the 2023 numbers are very disappointing. The Mammoth are still third in the league with an average home attendance of 9,913, but that’s a far cry from the 13,000-18,000 we were used to seeing from 2003-2018.
The Rush haven’t recovered from the pandemic either. They were up in the 11,000-15,000 range from 2016-2020, and then dropped to 8,947 in 2022 (again, pandemic plus their first season out of the playoffs since they were in Edmonton). They are playing better this season, but attendance is down even further, only averaging 8,275 which is good for 8th in a 15-team league.
With several other teams (Toronto, Calgary, Buffalo, Georgia) recovering and seeing strong attendance numbers, it’s disappointing to see that these two teams that were top of the league for many years have dropped so far.