Panther City Lacrosse Club Powers Past Colorado Mammoth, 13-7
Photos by Velton Hayworth
Fort Worth, TX (February 18, 2023) – The Panther City Lacrosse Club (6-4) defeated the visiting defending NLL Champions, Colorado Mammoth (4-5), 13-7, Saturday night at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth.
Goalie Nick Damude shined and never allowed more than three goals in a single quarter en route to making 40 saves out of the 47 shots he faced (.851 save percentage). Damude is now 4-1 in his last five games with an .817 save percentage. After tonight’s game, Damude now owns a 9.76 GAA, which is third best in the NLL.
Offensively, Panther City was anchored by rookie Jonathan Donville’s seven points (3G/4A), as well as 17-year veteran Callum Crawford’s seven points (3G/4A). With his seventh point on the evening, Crawford passed NLL legend, Gary Gait for eighth all-time in points scored in NLL history. Crawford has appeared in three games with Panther City and is averaging over six points per game with the purple and black. Will Malcom recorded six points (2G/4A) in the win.
Defender Liam Byrnes was stellar tonight out of the back door and recorded six loose balls and two caused turnovers. The team as whole finished with 77 loose balls, compared to Colorado’s 64.
Panther City closes out the home-home with Colorado next Friday in Denver as the clubs will face off for the third and final time in the regular season. Face-off is set for 7pm and will be broadcast on Bally Sports Southwest + and streamed everywhere on ESPN+.
POST GAME QUOTES
HEAD COACH TRACEY KELUSKY
On goalie Nick Damude and accomplishing his 1000th career save…
“It is huge. Obviously, a young goaltender – I have been a part of this league a long time and not often do you see a young goaltender come in and make a statement and prove his value. Nicky has certainly stepped up to the challenge dating back to last year. I am proud of him. He still has a ways to go. He is a professional. He wants to get better at his craft and that is why he is our backbone right now.”
On the team playing a full 60-minunte game…
“We challenged the boys mid-week. We have a mid-week chat so to speak every week and we had a good win last week against Vancouver, but how do we turn the page. How do we get to that next level. In order to get to that next level you have to be consistent. It is a commitment to doing the little things. It is not anything big, but rather your commitment to doing the little things very well and doing them great all the time. I thought tonight we were great on the back end in sorting out in real time in transition. It is a credit to everyone because everyone bought in and it really is about being accountable.”
On winning the battle between the lines with loose balls…
“That is the game. I have always said that that is the game. If you out work the other team then you are a step ahead the whole time. In order to have any sort of success in this game, if you give yourself 20 extra possessions because you are getting the loose balls and you have the commitment to go dig and battle for them. You then have the upper hand off the get go, so it is something we work on talk about, but again it is a willingness to do it. Everyone being accountable and everyone doing their job for the guy beside them. I know it is cliché, but that is how we operate.”
On the offense’s performance…
“ We are always by committee. We are always by committee. Everyone was good. Obviously, Crawf [Callum Crawford] is good. J.D. [Jonathan Donville] is good. Everyone is contributing, which I like. I think maybe we missed Nathan [Grenon] a little bit tonight – doing what he is able to do and bang bodies, but certainly Dean Fairall came in and did a great job as well. It is back to our offensive principles. Making sure we are buying in to the subtleties of what we are trying to do offensively. Guys have to start gelling with one another. It is Crawf’s third game with us. We are going to take the next step hopefully, but ultimately, I am pretty happy with where we are.”
On Liam Byrnes…
“Liam Byrnes was our best player on the back end. It is a game of momentum. One of the things I liked about our game tonight was our poise. I always go back to leadership. Certainly our defensive coach and our offensive coach will be coaching and barking at these guys, but at times during this game our core group and our leaders pulled the group aside and we had several conversations. When you are able to have those conversations in real time throughout the course of a game – that is big time. That means you are taking that next step. We were able to do it on both sides of the ball. We never showed any signs of being desperate so to speak. We certainly played urgent, which I like. Collective effort from both sides and we weren’t panicking. We just went out and played.”
GOALIE NICK DAMUDE QUOTES
On the 1,000 save by Nick Damude…
“I had no idea honestly, [the 1000th save] was coming, just hope there are lots more to come. It feels good. Panther City gave me a shot and I am trying to run with it. I love this team and I hope there is a lot more moving forward with Panther City.”
On how the team looked from his perspective…
“The goals against, are really a team stat and I think everybody in locker room played good D [defense] and O [offense]. With how many resets [the offense] got makes it easy for the D to play, we [are able] to get less shifts and the boys caused turnovers, scooped loose balls, [so] everything just adds up making it an easy game overall. TK [Head Coach Tracey Kelusky] challenged us this week that this was a big one for down the line making the playoffs. We play them again next week, so this was a statement that we needed to make and we have to do the same thing next week.”
On the offense’s performance and how that effects the defense…
“Yes, obviously when we are seeing them work as hard as they were and how they have been all year, that gets us fired up to go out and play good for them. We talk about trust a lot, we trust them to make plays and they’re going to trust us to make plays and do the same thing on our end. When everything is rolling, I’m making saves, the boys are getting loose balls, turnovers, scoring and they are getting resets. It seems like honestly, an easy game when we all play the way we have.”
FORWARD JONATHAN DONVILLE QUOTES
On facing Colorado goalie Dillon Ward…
“Honestly no, I don’t think you ever feel that [relief] with Dillon Ward, he’s the best goalie in the world probably. I know him a little bit, he’s pretty tight with my brother, so you just take every goal you can get and try to get another one. We were lucky to get a couple bounces go our way, but he always makes us feel a little uneasy. He’s arguably one of the best goalies in the world in either sport, playing against him as an offensive guy is not very fun.
On the momentum going into next week’s game…
“It’s nice to defend home floor, so we can get some momentum going that way. Its big, bigger than just momentum, it’s standings. It’s going to be a dog fight here. If anyone has looked in the Western Conference, you can see that there are a lot of good teams. It’s going to be some really good teams making the playoffs, so we just need to stockpile as many wins as we can. When we get a chance to finish one out like we did in the 4th quarter, you really have to make it count because to drop games that you have an opportunity to win, is really tough. It’s nice to build some momentum at home and to get some really hard wins against Colorado, the defending champs because they are an awesome team. It’s just nice to come out with two points.
On playing with Will Malcom and Callum Crawford…
“Of course, I just giving them the ball and they make a play. It’s great. I get some free points too, so it’s a good deal. Those guys are great to play with and I think one thing that they both give us is they can just play for 30 seconds and we are never out of a possession because they can always make something happen so quickly. So, you just give them the ball and they can make a play. When you are really grinding for a goal, Will and Callum [can] make a play for you and get you out. They are both great players obviously and Callum has been in the league for a long time and Will is having is breakout year. They are awesome players and fun to play with.
On the mindset for next week…
“I think it’s too important to start any of the antics. It’s a huge a game. The standings [are important], I think this was [one] of the most important games in Panther City history. I think defending home floor was big, but it’s really tough to win on the road into a tough building. We need these 2 points.”
Andy Esworthy, Vice President, Broadcasting & Communications: firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT PANTHER CITY LACROSSE CLUB
Panther City Lacrosse Club is in its second season in the National Lacrosse League, calling Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas home. Stay up to date on the latest on Panther City on Facebook, on Twitter @PantherCityLax and on Instagram @panthercitylax
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