These two teams have played in plenty of big games over the past few years.
And Saturday will be no different.
The outcome of the game holds some big playoff impications, so both teams will be prepared to battle it out until the bitter end, knowing a win will go a long way to earning the final playoff spot in the West Division.
Here are five things to keep in mind for tomorrow night’s game:
1. KEEP IT ROLLING
For the first time this season, the Roughnecks (7-9) have a chance to win four games in a row. After defeating the Buffalo Bandits 13-8 on April. 8, to extend their winning streak to three, the Riggers now find themselves third in the West Division as they make a late push for the playoffs. Their strong play has come at the right time with the Vancouver Stealth (6-9) knocking on the door with an all-important matchup this Saturday. Momentum seems on their side now during their current winning streak.
2. DO OR DIE
Speaking of the Stealth, this Saturday’s tilt will be the biggest game so far this season for both clubs. Only half a game separates the two teams in the standings, with the Stealth having a game in hand. This matchup isn’t a must-win game for the Roughnecks but will go a long way towards earning them a ticket to face the Colorado Mammoth in the West Division semifinal. A victory for the Riggers would put the pressure squarely on the Stealth for their final two games of the campaign. So far in the season series, Vancouver holds a 2-1 lead.
3. WHAT’s HE GOT?
In his past two games, Frank Scigliano has been lights out when his team needs him most. It’s no secret that the key to success and a long playoff run is good goaltending, and Scigliano has provided that and more during the club’s recent outings. Making a combined total of 83 saves against the Rochester Knighthawks and Bandits, his play as of late could not have come at a more perfect time.
4. CONTROLLED EMOTIONS
Discipline is the name of the game, and the Roughnecks have been able to limit their trips to the bin in their last two games. With only two penalties against the Knighthawks, and five against the Bandits, they’ve been able to limit opposition’s powerplay chances. With the playoff-like intensity, emotions are sure to be running high this weekend, and it’ll be an area that’ll be stressed in the locker-room to keep a cool head. Despite the Stealth (50%) not having a deadly powerplay like the Bandits (60.34%), the Riggers can’t afford to give chances for them to score to get on a run or get back into the game.
5. NOT SO SMALL
All eyes will be on the Stealth’s scoring leader Corey Small, as he comes into the game third in league points (39 goals, 92 points). Coming off a disappointing three- point performance in Vancouver’s 16-12 loss against West Division leaders the Saskatchewan Rush in his last outing, Small will look to rebound in the pivotal matchup. In his three games against the Roughnecks this year, Small has racked up 20 points, with a four-goal night in the most recent matchup. Shutting down Vancouver’s points leader will go a long way to keeping their offence at bay and be a major point of emphasis.