Burnaby D-man puts Mammoth back in the playoff hunt

Burnaby Laker Ilija Gajic scored the go-ahead goal that sparked the Colorado Mammoth to a 14-11 win over the second-place East Division Toronto Rock on Friday.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="400"]gajic Ilija Gajic scored two goals and had eight loose balls in Colorado's win over Toronto on Friday. Garrett James photo[/caption]

Gajic stopped a four-goal Toronto rally, tallying his first of the game 11 minutes into the second quarter to put the visitors into the lead for good with a 7-6 advantage.

The eight-year National Lacrosse League veteran doubled his goal production in the victory, potting a pair of markers, including his fourth of the year to lead off the third quarter at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Gajic also had a team-high eight loose balls against the Rock.

The two goals brought Gajic's season totals to four goals and 10 points in 11 games this season, good for a share of eighth place in the NLL scoring race among defenders.

The victory by Colorado erased the disappointing back-to-back losses to Vancouver and Saskatchewan last week, which had put the brakes on the Mammoth's 4-1 roll in recent weeks.

With the win, Colorado improved its record to 7-6, inching to a game-and-a-half behind the idle West Division leaders Saskatchewan Rush.

Gajic, the second overall pick by Colorado in the 2009 entry draft, has 57 goals and 130 points in regular season play in the NLL. He is also currently 19th among all pro defenders with 53 loose balls.

In other Friday NLL action, Laker transition runner Justin Salt moved into 11th place overall with a game-high nine loose balls in the Vancouver Stealth's 15-11 loss to the Buffalo Bandits at home. Salt now has 75 loose balls in just 12 games this season, which ties his career-high set in 18 games in 2015.

In Georgia, the Calgary Roughnecks remain in the West division basement, falling to 4-8 following Friday's 17-8 loss to the East-leading Storm.