February 12, 2011

Blazers Top Mammoth in Rough Game

by Patrick Clark O'Brien | NLL.com

BOSTON -- The Boston Blazers (5-3) won 11-6 in a rough match against the Colorado Mammoth (1-5) at home on Saturday at TD Garden. Both the offense and defense were critical throughout the game.

"Not the type of game that usually makes a coach feel warm and fuzzy, but to win that one on the short-man was really strong," said Blazers Head Coach Matt Sawyer. "I think they were 0-for-6 on the power play and we outscored them three to nothing (on power play goals). One of those 0-for-6 would be the five minute major. So we will take the win, we're happy with that."

Cliff Smith, of the Mammoth, and Jack Reid, of the Blazers, let the fists fly in the first quarter. Smith got five minutes, while Reid got five plus a two minute penalty for cross-checking. But while the Blazers were down, Ryan Dilks defined the evening with the first goal, assisted by Mike Kirk. There was no stopping the Blazers after this.

"[Tonight's win] was huge for us, we needed to separate ourselves from the .500 club and show our fans and our own team what we are capable of," said Boston's Anthony Cosmo. "It was good to show [the fans] that we belong in our league."

There were a total of 39 penalty minutes in the game. Even with numerous man-downs, Anthony Cosmo managed to save 38 of the 44 shots on goal. Colorado's Chris Levis, prior to being pulled, saved 14 of the 19 shots on goal. The Mammoth's Matt King, saved 17 of the 22 shots on goal.

"It was a great win, I didn't think we were at our best early but our defense and goaltending were great, obviously on our short-man," said Boston's Josh Sanderson. It was really good and we are happy with the win, but we have to get a lot better going into Minnesota. Obviously they are one of the best teams in the [Western Division] and we just have to keep getting better."

The second quarter was full of scrappy pushes and shoves. There were several 'almost' fights throughout the game. One of the most memorable moments of the first half was when Blazers' Forward Nick Cotter managed to score mid-air from behind the net, bringing the total to 4-1.

The next moment gave Jack Reid his first career goal, as he scored just out of the penalty box. The score was 7-1 going into the half, after two goals shortly before the clock ran-out.

"There was a lot of trash talk obviously, emotions were running high," said Sanderson. "We knew they were desperate, they got a couple hits on Casey [Powell] that we weren't to happy with. It was just a really emotional game; at this level you have to come ready to play. Obviously we were emotionally charged before the game and we weren't going to take it, we were going to push back. There was definitely an intensity out there."

The emotion Sanderson is referring to came from the locker room. Leiutenant Scott Milley, a 23 year old from Sudbury, MA, was killed in Afghanistan. Milley, a huge lacrosse fan and national hero, was honored by the Blazers and his family was in the locker room with the team before the game.

"It [puts] everything into perspective. Lacrosse is huge, it's a huge part of our life, but we are lucky to be who we are and do what do," said Cosmo. "It was pretty emotional in there, most times you are getting riled up, but this time was heart-pounding, a lot of emotion and tears."

The third quarter was quick, but the Mammoth played catch-up the entire half. Though they managed to put three more goals on the board, they didn't completely shut-down the Blazers. Casey Powell scored his 244th career goal, becoming the highest scorer born in the United States in NLL history.

"Full credit to Boston and Anthony Cosmo, they were well prepared tonight and played very well," said Colorado Mammoth Head Coach Bob Hamley. "We didn't shoot the ball very well... Cosmo is a very good goalie, [Boston's] short-handed was very good tonight as well. Again we didn't shoot the ball well. We had some opportunities but just didn't finish, so we have to get better at that."

Boston played very well in fourth quarter. The final fifteen minutes brought two goals from Blazers' Defenseman Damon Edwards as well as an assist for Dilks. Cosmo made several great saves. Nick Cotter and Jarett Park kept the punches coming as they tangled on the turf. Though the Mammoth out shot the Blazers by two goals, they never caught up. The game ended with a Boston win, 11-6.

The Boston Blazers were led by Dan Dawson (1g, 4a), Casey Powell (1g, 4a), Josh Sanderson (3g, 0a), and Ryan Dilks (1g, 2a). Leading the way for the Colorado Mammoth were Dan Carey (2g, 2a), John Grant (2g, 2a), and Brian Langtry (0g, 3a).

The Blazers travel to Minnesota Saturday, February 19 as they take on the Minnesota Swarm (3-3) at 8:30pm ET. The Mammoth take-on the Washington Stealth on Friday, February 18 at 11:00pm ET in Washington.

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