The Calgary Roughnecks will be looking to return to their winning ways on Saturday in Edmonton.
RIVALRY RENEWED: The Calgary Roughnecks will be looking to return to their winning ways when they travel north to Edmonton to face the Rush at Crystal Glass Field at Rexall Place on Saturday night (8 p.m., Sportsnet West). The Roughnecks (11-4) suffered a 14-12 setback on the road to the Rochester Knighthawks last Saturday. Head coach Dave Pym wasn’t pleased with Calgary’s effort against the K-Hawks and will be counting on a much better effort from his charges against the Rush (5-8). “We’ve got a lot of things that we needed to work on as a result of looking at that game film and I know our guys are taking it to heart and they’re going to come as a pissed off team,” said Pym, whose team has beat the Rush all three times the two Alberta rivals have faced off against each other this season. “There’s nothing better than getting the emotional juices flowing and playing your provincial rival.”
ON A RUSH: The Rush fought hard for an 11-8 win over the Buffalo Bandits last Saturday at Crystal Glass Field. Edmonton has gone 3-1 in its past four games, including three straight wins at home. The Rush, who will also play on Friday night in Denver against the league-leading Colorado Mammoth (11-3), need just one win to qualify for post-season action. “We want to take care of business on our own, not worry about what other teams are doing around us,” said Edmonton coach Derek Keenan. “This is a real important, key weekend for this team.” The Rush have endured a nine-game losing streak to the ’Necks in the regular season. “We haven’t beaten them since the playoffs two years ago, so we’re obviously well aware of that,” Keenan said. “We’ve been in most of those games but just seem to let them slip in the fourth quarter. We need to play consistently for the whole game. I thought last weekend we did and we got a good result, so we need to continue that this weekend for both games.”
STREAK SNAPPED: The Roughnecks suffered their first setback on the road this season in Rochester last Saturday. Looking to set a new franchise record with their seventh straight win while also running their road winning streak to seven games, the Riggers built up a 5-2 lead over Rochester at the Blue Cross Arena. The K-Hawks (6-8), who lost 15-14 in Calgary to the Riggers last weekend, then responded with six unanswered goals to take the lead and held on for a 14-12 victory. “It’s just one of those things where they got on the momentum run and we allowed it,” said Pym. For the second straight game, Johnny Powless led the Rochester attack with a hat trick and four assists, while rookie forward Stephen Keogh notched three goals and three helpers. Dane Dobbie counted four goals for the ’Necks, while Shawn Evans and Jeff Shattler both scored twice and set up four others. Curtis Dickson had two goals and an assist, Travis Cornwall and Mike Carnegie also scored, while Daryl Veltman chipped in with four assists. With goalie Mike Poulin out of the lineup nursing a lower-body injury, Frankie Scigliano made his first-ever NLL start and made 38 saves in a losing cause. Cory Vitarelli also had a hat trick for the K-Hawks, while Mike Accursi (2g, 4a), Alexander-Kedoh Hill (2g, 1a) and Cody Jamieson (1g, 4a) also had strong games for Rochester. Matt Vinc made 41 saves in the Rochester net to record the victory.
CAPTAIN’S CORNER: Calgary captain Andrew McBride gave credit to the Knighthawks for playing well in their win over the Riggers last Saturday. “At the same time, I felt we weren’t ready to play,” McBride said. “We’ve got to come to the rink every time, especially down the stretch here, and treat it like a playoff game.” While McBride gave credit to the Calgary offence for making a game of it with four straight goals in the fourth quarter, the veteran Calgary rearguard admitted that the defence didn’t play well enough to win. “We were kind of worried about what they were going to do instead of dictating the pace,” McBride said. “That’s when we’re successful is when we’re dictating the flow of the game and the pace. We didn’t do the small things it takes to win. It’s a good reminder heading into the playoffs that you can’t just show up to the rink and win. I know the guys are all taking it to heart and we’ll be ready to go next week.”
DOME PLAYOFFS: The Roughnecks will host the 2012 NLL West Division Semi-Final on Saturday, May 5, 7 p.m. at the Scotiabank Saddledome against an opponent yet to be determined. Playoff tickets are available at all Ticketmaster and Calgary Safeway locations, the Scotiabank Saddledome box office, online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by phone at 1-855-985-5000. Calgary’s 13-11 win over the Washington Stealth on March 31 secured the Roughnecks home field advantage in Round 1of the post-season for the fifth time in 11 seasons. Since missing the playoffs in their inaugural campaign in 2002, the Roughnecks have advanced to the post-season for 10 straight years, earning two NLL championships (2004 and 2009). “As a group you work through the regular-season to gain home turf advantage in the playoffs,” said Calgary Roughnecks General Manager Mike Board. “In the NLL’s single elimination playoff format, playing in your building in front of your fans is a huge advantage. We have great fans that are loud and supportive. Our players have been focused and committed all season and we want to continue to improve over the remainder of the regular-season to build momentum heading into the playoffs.”
ROUGHNECKS VS. RUSH: The Roughnecks now boast an all-time record of 19-4 (8-2 at home, 11-2 on the road) against the Rush. The 19 wins over Edmonton are the most that Calgary has recorded against any NLL franchise. Calgary beat Edmonton all four times the two teams faced off against each other in the 2011 NLL campaign. The Riggers ran to a 15-11 win in Edmonton on Jan. 28, 2011 before edging the Rush 12-11 the next night back at home in Calgary. The ’Necks also beat the Rush 12-11 in Edmonton on Feb. 20 before sweeping the season series with a 19-14 triumph at the Scotiabank Saddledome on March 19. Shattler led all players in last year’s season series with seven goals and 20 assists, while Dobbie scored 10 goals to go with 15 assists. Dickson notched 12 goals to go with seven assists, while Scott Ranger scored eight times and set up 10 others. Kaleb Toth (4g, 10a) and Cory Conway (2g, 8a) also fared well in the four-game set. Poulin backstopped the Riggers to all four wins making 147 saves along the way. Ryan Ward led the Rush scoring attack with seven goals and 15 assists in the four games, while Corey Small (4g, 14a), Scott Evans (10g, 7a) and Jimmy Quinlan (4g, 2a) were also dangerous.
PERSEVERANCE PAYS OFF: Dickson lived up to his ‘Superman’ nickname with a pair of highlight-reel goals to lead the Riggers to a 13-10 win over the Rush at Crystal Glass Field at Rexall Place on March 9. On two separate occasions, Dickson went airborne before tucking the ball into the top corner behind Edmonton goalie Aaron Bold. “I like making that play,” said Dickson, who finished the game with four goals and three assists. “If you can get your stick over there and get the ball around him, it’s going to go in hopefully the majority of the time and it worked out twice for me tonight.” Dickson also scored a shorthanded marker while the Roughnecks were killing off a two-man disadvantage and added an empty-net goal. It’s the first four-goal game against Edmonton for Dickson, who notched hat tricks in all five previous games he played against the Rush over his first two seasons in the NLL.
BOUNCE-BACK EFFORT: After recording just one assist during Calgary’s disappointing 15-11 loss at home to the Minnesota Swarm on March 3, Shattler bounced back with a hat trick and a helper against the Rush one week later. “I really wanted to prove myself tonight,” Shattler said. “I was just glad to help out my team.” Ranger scored twice and set up four others for the ’Necks against the Rush, while Dobbie also had two goals to go with three assists. Shawn Evans and Veltman chipped in with a goal and an assist each. Scott Evans led the Rush attack with an impressive six-goal outing to go with one assist. Tom Johnson, Aaron Wilson, Kyle Rubisch and Zack Greer also scored, while Shawn Williams had four assists. Poulin stopped 42-of-52 shots he faced to record the win, while Edmonton goalie Aaron Bold made 44 saves at the other end of the floor.
RUSH CRUSHED: Shawn Evans fired five goals to lead the Roughnecks to a 16-9 win over the Rush on March 10. Evans notched three of his goals in the fourth quarter during which the Roughnecks outscored the Rush 7-0. “We have a good squad here and we just kept pushing,” said Evans. Peter McFetridge had a hat trick and two assists for the Riggers, who ran their regular-season winning streak against the Rush to nine games. “It’s a rivalry that’s been around forever,” said McFetridge, whose five-point performance set a new career high. “We don’t have a problem getting up for these games.” Shattler and Geoff Snider counted two goals and an assist each, while Veltman (1g, 2a), Ranger (1g, 2a), Dobbie (1g, 1a) and Conway (1g, 1a) also scored. Greer led the Rush attack with three goals and an assist, while Scott Evans counted two goals and two assists. Ward scored once and set up two others, while Derek Suddons, Small and Rubisch also scored. Playing in his 188th straight game to tie the NLL’s ironman record, Williams recorded four assists for the Rush to become the sixth player in NLL history to surpass the 1,000-point plateau. Poulin stopped 40-of-49 shots he faced in the Calgary net. Bold and Brodie Macdonald split time in the Edmonton net. Bold finished with 23 saves, while Macdonald stopped 8-of-13 shots he faced.
TRADE WINDS: On March 19, the Roughnecks traded goaltender Nick Rose and a conditional second-round selection in the 2014 NLL Entry Draft to the Toronto Rock in exchange for Toronto’s first-round pick in the 2014 NLL Entry Draft. “As an organization we are committed to continuing to build our team through draft picks,” commented Calgary General Manager Mike Board. “Having three goalies made it difficult to provide necessary playing time to develop our younger talent. This trade allows us to commit to our starter, Mike Poulin, and rookie Frankie Scigliano heading down the stretch.” The Roughnecks acquired Rose in the first round (seventh overall) of the 2011 Boston Blazers Dispersal Draft. This season the Orangeville, Ontario, native, dressed for five games with Calgary and registered 17 saves in two relief appearances for a total of just under 33 minutes played.
THE KING RETURNS: Goaltender Matt King has been added to the active roster, signing a one-year contract with the Roughnecks. King, a native of Victoria, B.C., previously played four seasons with the Riggers and was part of the 2004 and 2009 championship squads. In 2009, King dressed for all 16 regular-season games plus all three playoff contests, boasting seven regular-season wins and three post-season victories to help earn Calgary the Champion’s Cup. Earlier this season, the 31-year-old was released by Washington where he dressed for three games. King saw less than two minutes of turf time in the 14-12 setback in Rochester last Saturday.
ROSTER ADDITION: The Roughnecks have added defenceman Matt Leveque to the practice roster. Leveque, a resident of Langley, B.C., was released by Colorado earlier this season. During the summer, Leveque was the captain of the Langley Thunder who won the 2011 Western Lacrosse Association championship and hosted the 2011 Mann Cup.
VETERAN ROSTER: Captain Andrew McBride leads a group of 18 returning vets on Calgary’s roster this year. The Roughnecks are also pleased to welcome back Jeff Shattler, Dane Dobbie, Scott Ranger, Curtis Dickson, Cory Conway, Daryl Veltman and Kaleb Toth at forward. Joining McBride on defence are the brother tandems of Mike and Scott Carnegie and Jon and Greg Harnett (the latter of whom is a rookie), along with Mike Kilby and Dan MacRae. Transition players Nolan Heavenor, Peter McFetridge, Curtis Manning and Geoff Snider are also back in the fold along with Mike Poulin in goal. The Roughnecks also acquired forward Shawn Evans from the Rochester Knighthawks in the offseason and the veteran forward has fit in nicely. Three of Calgary’s five picks from the 2011 NLL Entry Draft also earn spots on this year’s roster: transition Travis Cornwall (first round, seventh overall), defenceman Greg Harnett (second round, 11th overall) and goalie Frankie Scigliano (second round, 18th overall).
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
- Kaleb Toth is two assists shy of 400. Toth also needs just five more loose balls to reach 800.
- In his sixth NLL campaign, Geoff Snider needs just four points to reach 200.
- Nolan Heavenor is seven points away from reaching the 100 plateau in his seventh season in the NLL.
- Daryl Veltman needs to score 10 more times to hit the 100-goal mark.
- Jeff Shattler is 16 loose balls shy of reaching 700.