CALGARY ROUGHNECKS (7-10) vs. SASKATCHEWAN RUSH (11-5)
WHEN: Saturday, April 29th at 7:00 p.m. MT
WHERE: Scotiabank Saddledome
TV/RADIO: NLLTV.com, twitter.com
SERIES: 3-0 for Saskatchewan
LAST MEETING: Saskatchewan won, 13-10, in Saskatchewan on March 24
The Roughnecks will host the Saskatchewan Rush in the final game of the regular season this weekend.
It will be the fourth time these two teams have faced off this season and Calgary will be looking for their first win against the West Division leaders. The Riggers are well-rested, coming off of a bye week. Meanwhile, the Rush – who beat the Toronto Rock 15-10 last weekend – will be travelling to Colorado on Friday before coming to Calgary on Saturday.
The Roughnecks are hosting a Superhero Party on Saturday, so it’s likely that their resident Superman [Curtis Dickson] will be on display. The elite scorer sits first in the NLL in goals scored with 51 and is just four goals shy of tying a two-year scoring record (116) set by Gary Gait in 2003/4.
MIKE BOARD QUOTABLES:
“It comes down to the final couple of weeks. It shouldn’t have come down to that point. We had a stretch through the middle of the season where we didn’t win enough games and we lost the weekend before to Vancouver, so we took our fate out of our hands. When you do that, you don’t always come up on the right side of the coin.”
“It might not be meaningful in the standings, but it’s meaningful in a lot of other ways. For the fans, for players as individuals, we’re going to re-evaluate everyone at the end of the season. Don’t fold up the tent just because we’re out of the playoffs. That’s not who we are and we’re going to fight until the end.”
“I think we’ve got a lot of really good, young players. We missed a couple of those guys this year. We’re always looking to get more athletic on the defensive side of things and you’re always looking to add offence. When the draft comes, we’ll have a higher pick than we’ve had before, so we expect to add a good player who can make an impact next season.”
Curtis Dickson, 51g, 51a
Mark Matthews, 37g, 70a
Frank Scigliano, .763 SV%, 12.39 GAA
Aaron Bold, .760 SV%, 11.36 GAA
KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH:
CGY – Wesley Berg
Curtis Dickson often gets most of the attention when talking about right-handed forwards in Calgary, but sophomore Wesley Berg is the guy to watch on Saturday. While Dickson has been held goalless twice by the Rush this season, Berg has flourished, scoring 19 points (7g, 12a) in three games against Saskatchewan.
SAS – Robert Church
One of the league’s top scorers, Church is another guy that doesn’t get as much air time as one of his teammates (Mark Matthews). Church has recorded 13 points (6g, 7a) against the Roughnecks in 2017. A good player at even strength, Church is the game’s most dangerous powerplay weapons. The fourth year player leads the entire league with 21 goals in extra-man situations.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
With a tired Rush squad coming into Calgary, the Roughnecks need to use their fresh legs to their advantage and be aggressive in all aspects of the game. From loose balls, to transition chances, to the way they play defence. That’s not to say they should play the entire game as a track meet, but the Riggers need to pick their spots to attack the Rush. If the Roughnecks keep the pace slow and let the Rush set up their five-man defensive unit, they’re playing into the hands of their opponent. To avoid that pitfall, Calgary needs to be aggressive and use their speed to force the Rush out of their game plan.