Former Roughneck thrives in Colorado

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:01 PM ET

Talk about some big shoes to fill.

When the Colorado Mammoth signed free-agent forward Chris Gill in the off-season, the National Lacrosse League veteran was brought in to replace some of the offence lost when fellow southpaw Gary Gait hung up his stick.

Gait retired after the 2005 season as the NLL's all-time leading scorer to become the head coach of the Mammoth.

His twin brother Paul, who had come out of retirement to try and win one more championship with him, was also gone, leaving the Mammoth without any left-handed forwards.

Gill played nine games with the Calgary Roughnecks in 2005 before the team released him in March. He scored only five goals in nine games and looked like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole in Calgary's offence.

Gill -- who scored an incredible 115 goals in 47 games over the previous three seasons -- sat out the rest of the season before getting another chance with the Mammoth this year.

"I wanted to prove I could still play the game," said the 33-year-old, who scored twice in Colorado's 15-14 OT loss to Calgary last night, including one that tied the game with only 5.6 seconds left to play and forced the extra frame.

"And I'm getting lots of opportunities on this team. They're giving me a ton of floor time.

"It's fun playing the game the way I grew up playing. It's been a while since I felt that."

Despite his pedigree and nose for the net, Gill was never able to feel comfortable in Calgary's offence.

"It's two different styles of offence," explained Gill, who now has six goals in his last two games.

"They had a lot of players that had been there a while and their system was established. Here, a lot of us are new and we didn't have a system in place. We figured it out as a group. And, it turned out my game was suited to this kind of system."

A true creaseman, Gill played down low opposite righty Jason Wulder while Calgary's Trio Grande -- Tracey Kelusky, Kaleb Toth and Lewis Ratcliff -- ran the attack from the perimeter.

"It's more free flowing in terms of this offence," said Gill.

"Calgary plays more from the top with all the superstars they have there up top. So, it was harder for a guy like me who works down low to get open when it was all coming from the top."


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