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Black Wolves can’t catch Colorado and lose fifth straight

New England couldn't make up for a slow start and dropped its fifth straight to Colorado Sunday in Uncasville.

New England couldn’t make up for a slow start and dropped its fifth straight to Colorado Sunday in Uncasville. (Khoi Ton photo courtesy of NLL)

UNCASVILLE, Conn., Feb. 22 – Down four goals after the first quarter, the New England Black Wolves indoor lacrosse team cut Colorado’s lead to one in the second half, but could not overtake the Mammoth, losing 14-12 at Mohegan Sun Arena in National Lacrosse League play on Sunday afternoon.  

It was the fifth straight loss for the Black Wolves (2-5). Colorado (4-3) snapped a three-game losing streak. 

Two nights after being held without a goal for just the eighth time in his career, New England’s Kevin Crowley led all scorers with five goals and four assists racking up nine points on the night. It was Crowley’s second highest single-game total for the season. He had 10 points in a 17-7 win over Rochester on January 10. Crowley now leads the team with 39 points coming from 17 goals and 22 assists. 

“I think consistency is one of the things we’ve got work on,” Black Wolves offensive coordinator Jim Milligan told NLL.com. “At times we have it, at times we let it go. At times our offense matched up very well with their defense, and we had the drive to go to the net. Some nights it’s there, some nights it’s not. We have to have that every night. We’ve got to find it within ourselves.”

Brett Bucktooth continued to make his presence felt for the Black Wolves, tallying two goals and two assists. In his first three games for New England after coming back from injury, the forward has seven goals and three assists for 10 points. Also contributing for the Black Wolves was Kyle Buchanan with a goal and four assists, Kevin Buchanan with four assists, and Jamie Lincoln with two goals and an assist. 

Adam Jones was the go-to guy for the number one scoring team in the NLL with four goals and three assists. Alex Turner had three goals and an assist while John Grant had a goal and three assists. Bob Snider added three more assists for the Mammoth. 

After the two teams traded goals early in the first quarter, Colorado scored five of the next six goals in the quarter to take a 6-2 lead going in to the second quarter. 

Slow starts have been a sticking point for New England during this five game losing streak as they have fallen behind early in each game and have not been able to recover. In the two games the Black Wolves have won this season against Buffalo and Rochester they scored first.  

New England would close the gap in the second quarter as they outscored Colorado, 5-3 in the second period. Bucktooth and Crowley did most of the damage as Bucktooth had two goals and two assists while Crowley had a goal and two assists. The Black Wolves would go into the half down 9-7. 

The second half would be a defensive affair as both teams traded goals the rest of the way. New England closed the lead to one goal late on a score by Pat Saunders with 3:33 left in the game at 13-12. 

The Black Wolves however could not find an open shot in the final minutes of the game as the Mammoth defense held strong. Colorado was able to ice the game as a rolling shot by Drew Westervelt from five yards out would beat Tye Belanger to the near post with twelve second showing on the clock sealing a 14-12 victory for the Mammoths. 

Evan Kirk started in goal for New England facing nine shots and allowing five goals. He was replaced by Tye Belanger late in the first quarter who allowed nine goals on 46 shots. Belanger took his first loss of the season (0-1) while the Black Wolves drop to 2-5 on the year. 

Dillon Ward made 49 saves on 61 shots bringing his and the teams season record to 4-3. Colorado is no 4-1 on the season when scoring 13 goals or more. 

Originally scheduled for a 1 p.m. ET start, the game was delayed an hour due to weather-related issues that saw the Mammoth’s equipment arrive late with some of it not making it to Mohegan Sun at all. Colorado, playing in mixed and matched gear, still found a way.

New England is on the road for their next two games as they play Minnesota on March 14 and Calgary on March 20. The Black Wolves next home game will be on March 29 when they face off against Minnesota for the third time this season.

Since 2009, the Collinsville Press has been providing award-winning coverage of sports and news in the Farmington Valley and across Connecticut.

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