Maybe the Colorado Mammoth should have never traded Gavin Prout.
Colorado’s last win at home also came on Prout’s last home game with the Mammoth, Apr. 17, 2009. It took 708 days and a trade to bring Prout back to the Mile High City, but Colorado finally won again at the Pepsi Center in a 9-8 overtime thriller against the Boston Blazers on Saturday night.
But even though Prout helped lead Colorado to the victory, he said he didn’t think he played his best game.
“It was a tough game for me individually,” Prout said after Saturday’s contest. “I wasn’t shooting the ball very well and you hate to do that in a close game. If the game went the other way, it would have been a tough one for me to swallow.”
Prout finished with one goal and one assist on seven shots, and even though he didn’t have a huge night on the scoresheet, he was still an important part to the Mammoth’s offense.
The former Edmonton Rush forward led Colorado from the point position throughout the game, but when the Mammoth fell down by three goals with nearly six minutes to play, Prout jumped into the action and was at the right place at the right time.
“He was trying too hard in the first half,” said Colorado head coach Bob Hamley of Prout. “I think he would be the first to admit it, but he scored a huge goal for us. I thought he added a lot to our offense that we maybe didn’t have in the first nine games.”
Prout’s goal came after a rebound shot from John Grant Jr. and helped ignite a Colorado offense that went on to score two more goals late and force the game into overtime.
In the extra period, Grant became the hero after he streaked to the front of the net from the right corner and dived through the crease while beating Anthony Cosmo.
Grant’s goal was reviewed but it was determined that he hadn’t stepped into the crease, however it was close, two-to-three inches close.
“When I scored, I didn’t think that I was in [the crease] and I was just celebrating like it went in,” Grant said. “I know that they always have to challenge to make sure that it went in. I went to the bench and I was like, ‘No, not again. This can’t happen.’ I’ve already cost a couple of games this season by being in the crease late in games. It was a huge weight lifted when the referee came out of the box and lifted his hands.”
The victory at the Pepsi Center was extra special for Grant, as he had taken not winning at home personally all season.
“I have basically taken the home loss record with me,” Grant said. “Even though it is my first year here, it stings. You never want to lose and we have the greatest fans in the league here. They were on their feet for the fourth quarter and in overtime, and to let them down again would have been heartbreaking for them and for us.”
While after the game, most attention was turned to Prout’s return and Grant’s goal, it was another newcomer on the Mammoth that had the biggest game.
Joel Dalgarno finished with three goals in his first contest in a Mammoth sweater, doubling the total amount he had in his two previous games this season with the Washington Stealth.
“I want to do whatever it takes to help this team win,” Dalgarno said. “If it means scoring goals like tonight, then I’ll do it, but if it means working off ball and getting other people open then I’m willing to do that too.”
Hamley was impressed with Dalgarno’s performance in the game and said that the former Stealth player is going to have chance to play a role with the team in the final few games.
“Washington’s offense is very good and he is a young guy trying to find his way,” Hamley said of Dalgarno. “He is going to get a lot of opportunities with us and he proved today that he can play in this league and can score in this league.”
Colorado’s victory over Boston, comes at just the right time as the Mammoth keep pace with the Edmonton Rush for the final playoff spot in the Western Division. Edmonton also won this weekend, as it defeated the Minnesota Swarm on Friday.
The Rush (3-9) have one more win than the Mammoth (2-8), but Colorado plays six games down the home stretch of the season while Edmonton only plays four. And to top it all off, the Mammoth and Rush will meet three times in the final four weeks, beginning with a home-and-home series next weekend.
It will be another reunion for Prout after he spent the last year and a half in Edmonton, and he said he might have an extra edge in the upcoming games versus the Rush because of it.
“I’ve been in that dressing room for a year and a half, I know there game plans pretty well, I know what they stress,” Prout said. “So does the rest of the league as well, but being in the dressing room, being in with the players, and being in and understanding their whole system gives me a little bit of an advantage. However, if we don’t execute, it doesn’t make a difference.”