March 3, 2012

Grant Becomes Third NLL Player to Reach 500 Goals

John Grant had nine points Saturday as he reached the 500-goal plateau for his NLL career.
© Colorado Mammoth 

from press release

DENVER – The Colorado Mammoth's franchise-best six straight wins to start the 2012 season seemingly became a distant memory after a home defeat to the arch-rival Calgary Roughnecks at Pepsi Center a week ago. On Saturday night at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, the Mammoth returned to its winning ways, knocking off the Bandits, 16-13, to improve to 7-1.

"We wanted to respond," said Mammoth head coach Bob Hamley. "The key word all week was 'respond', and we did."

Colorado scored five of the first six goals in the 2nd quarter to open up a 7-4 lead, only to allow Buffalo to answer back with four straight to seize an 8-7 lead going into halftime.

The Mammoth responded in the third, scoring three straight out of the gate, and six overall in the period. Colorado forward John Grant Jr.'s power-play goal 52 seconds into the second half to tie the game at eight was the 499th of his career. With 1:37 remaining in the quarter, Grant's laser-beam from the outside gave the Mammoth a 13-11 lead and propelled Grant into the record books, as he became just the third player in National Lacrosse League history with 500 goals.

"He's a great lacrosse player and an even better person," said Hamley. "He takes these young guys under his wings – off the floor, on the floor. It's just a treat to be around him."

"I don't really concentrate on those type of personal [accomplishments]..." said Grant. "We needed to get off the 'schneid' from last weekend, and I think the team came to play."

After Bandits forward Chad Culp's second goal of the night tied the game at 13 just 32 seconds into the 4th quarter, the Mammoth took control. Forward Derek Hopcroft scored his third and fourth goals of the night, and defenseman Ian Hawksbee added an empty-netter in the waning moments.

"It was my first game back in a month, and I've been jacked all week," said Hopcroft, who had been a healthy scratch in Colorado's last two games. "I've shot against [Bandits goaltender Anthony] Cosmo before. I just kept shooting and the ball was dropping for me tonight."

Grant finished with four goals and five assists to lead all scorers, while Mammoth captain Gavin Prout and rookie forward Adam Jones each registered a goal and six assists. Goaltender Chris Levis saved 47 of the 60 shots he faced in the victory.

The West-Division-leading Colorado Mammoth returns home next Saturday, March 10 at 7pm MT against the Washington Stealth.

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