Grant Lifts Mammoth, Spoils Thompson Debut
from press release
DENVER - Last season, Mammoth forward John Grant Jr. scored the game-winning goal in both of the team's overtime games it played. In Colorado's 2016 season-opener at Pepsi Center on Friday night, Grant chose to end things in regulation. He scored the game-winner on a one-on-one isolation near the crease with 45 seconds left to give Colorado a 16-15 victory over the Georgia Swarm.
"I thought, 'Now's the time to take a chance'," said the 41-year-old Grant, whose tally moved him into a tie with Gavin Prout for second in Mammoth history in goals scored.
Grant's assist on the game-tying goal came less than one-minute-and-thirty-seconds prior, moving him past Brian Langtry for second in Mammoth history in helpers.
But the night wasn't all about the all-time-great. Colorado's first eight goals were scored by eight different players, and the Mammoth took an 8-7 lead into halftime. The home team didn't trail until a Kiel Matisz goal midway through the final frame gave the Swarm a 14-13 advantage. Colorado responded when second-year-forward Eli McLaughlin buried one on the power-play to knot the game at 14. After a Swarm goal from 2015 first overall pick Lyle Thompson put Georgia on top, Grant's late assist – and then his goal – sealed the deal.
Callum Crawford, who played the last six years of his career with the Swarm, had two goals and four assists in his Mammoth debut.
"The motivation for me was definitely to show why I came here; I came here to win a championship and that's the first step towards it, that first win," the veteran forward said.
Alex Buque recorded 42 saves in net for the Mammoth. Adam Jones scored three goals and four assists while Jordan Gilles scored a transition goal in the fourth quarter in his NLL debut. Jeremy Noble had two goals and four assists. Jackson Decker also found the net twice. Chris Wardle, Mike Burke and Creighton Reid each had one score.
"That's how you win games," Reid said. "You get all 16 guys firing... That's just definitely a demonstration of the depth of this team."
Colorado has now defeated Georgia six straight times dating back to the 2013 season.
Grant finished with seven points (2g, 5a) alongside Adam Jones who led the team with a hat trick plus four assists.
Rookies Randy Staats (3g, 4a) and Thompson (3g, 1a) led the way for the Swarm.
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