The Calgary Roughnecks suffered a 13-11 setback at the hands of the Toronto Rock to open the 2013 season
CALGARY, AB - Playing in front of 11,653 fans in their home opener at the Scotiabank Saddledome, the Calgary Roughnecks suffered a 13-11 setback to the Toronto Rock on Saturday night.
Kasey Beirnes led the Rock with three goals and two assists, while former Roughneck Josh Sanderson scored twice and set up two others.
“They had a good game plan,” said Calgary coach Curt Malawsky. “They came out and they executed and they handed it to us, but we’re young and we’re going to bounce back.”
Netminder Nick Rose, who started last season with the Riggers before being traded to Toronto, played well in the Rock net as he stopped 45 of 56 shots fired his way.
Special teams were a factor in the game as the Rock went four-for-six on the power play, while the Riggers scored twice on six chances with the man advantage.
Beirnes scored one of his goals during a two-man advantage for the Rock, while Sanderson scored both of his goals during a five-minute power play for Toronto.
“In this league to league to be successful, you have to be sharp on the special teams,” said Calgary captain Andrew McBride, who notched his first goal of the season in the third quarter when the Rock were leading 10-5. “It’s about learning; it’s about getting better and understanding what we have to do. We didn’t panic, which was a great sign. We were able to come back when we were down a couple goals and you’ve got to take the positives out of that.”
Shawn Evans paced the Roughnecks offensively with a hat trick and two helpers, while Curtis Dickson had two goals and three assists.
Daryl Veltman scored once and set up four others, while rookie Joe Resetarits notched his first NLL goal and added two assists for good measure.
“We’ve got to start off better,” Resetarits said. “We can’t just play in spurts. We’ve got to have a better first half. Once we settled down in the second half, things were just gelling. We’ve just got be more sharp and we’ve got to relax a little more. You’re not going to win a championship in one game, so it’s going to be a process the whole year.”
In his first game for the Roughnecks since being acquired from the Rock in an off-season trade, Aaron Pascas had a goal and an assist. Jeff Shattler and Geoff Snider also scored, while Scott Ranger chipped in with two assists.
Goalie Mike Poulin finished the game with 35 saves in the Calgary net.
“Poulin made some amazing saves,” Malawsky said. “If it wasn’t for Mike, it would have been a complete blowout.”
Stephan Leblanc had two goals for the Rock, while Toronto captain Colin Doyle chipped in with five assists. Jesse Gamble, Mike Hobbins, Scott Evans, Blaine Manning and Stephen Hoar also scored for Toronto.
The Rock jumped out to a quick start as Hoar won the opening faceoff and promptly scored to put Toronto up 1-0 just seven seconds into the game.
The Roughnecks then pulled even just over two minutes later when Shattler converted a feed from Resetarits.
After Leblanc put Toronto up 2-1, Evans replied for Calgary. Manning then scored a power-play goal for the Rock late in the first quarter.
Exactly five minutes into the second quarter, Marshall scored a shorthanded goal for the Rock to put Toronto up 4-2.
Resetarits then notched his first NLL goal to pull the ’Necks within a goal before Gamble and Hobbins counted goals 33 seconds apart to put the Rock up 6-3.
After Pascas notched his first goal as a Roughneck, Leblanc replied with his second of the game for Toronto to put the Rock up 7-4 through two quarters.
Just 68 seconds into the third quarter Beirnes scored during a two-man advantage for the Rock before Evans notched his second of the contest a short time later during a Roughneck man advantage.
With Nolan Heavenor in the box serving a major penalty for roughing, Sanderson scored a pair of power-play goals to give the Rock a commanding 10-5 advantage.
At 14:18 of the third, McBride took a breakaway pass from Heavenor and then bounced a shot past Rose. Just 19 seconds later, Veltman converted a great feed from Evans to pull the Riggers within three goals.
Scott Evans then scored for Toronto at 3:08 of the fourth quarter before his younger brother Shawn Evans replied for Calgary just 18 seconds later.
After Dickson and Snider scored for Calgary, before Beirnes scored a pair of goals for Toronto to put the game out of reach.
Dickson added a late goal for Calgary to round out the scoring.
Next up, the Roughnecks will host the Colorado Mammoth at the Scotiabank Saddledome next Saturday night.
“We’ve addressed some focus issues that we’ve got to be better at and the good thing is we get back on the horse and come back here in a week,” Malawsky said.