The praises have been heaped on Shawn Evans since the start of the season, his second with the squad.
Captain Andrew McBride said he was in the midst of a breakout year. Head coach Curt Malawsky called him the heart and soul of the team. Curtis Dickson, tongue in cheek, said he’s not a bad player.
Tonight, Evans proved why all of that is true.
With his team off to a slow start, he gave them the kick necessary to get them started. He notched four goals in the first 17 minutes, and then became a passing machine with nine more helpers along the way to a 19-12 Roughnecks victory over the Colorado Mammoth.
In the end, he set the franchise record with 13 points, which was formerly held by Dane Dobbie, Lewis Ratcliff and John Kilbride at 11.
“I never knew that I set that,” he said. “But I’m more happy that we got the win tonight. We are off on the right foot now.
“When we got ourselves in the hole early, I knew we needed to get going.”
Following tonight’s 19-12 victory, Evans now leads the league in points with 25, second in goals with 11 and fourth in assists with 14.
One of the keys for the Roughnecks tonight was shot selection. They only fired 51 shots at the Mammoth net yet 19 of them went in. The majority of them came from high percentage areas and the Roughnecks were much better in not rushing shots early in the 30-second clock.
Having covered the Roughnecks for a better part of three seasons, this was likely one of their best games when it came to specialty teams. Although the Mammoth only gave them five opportunities, the Roughnecks capitalized seven times thanks to five-minute majors by John Grant Jr. and Richard Morgan. As well, they added four shorthanded markers after scoring none in the first two games.
Mike Poulin seems to feed off the rest of his teammates. When the offense was scoring in bunches on one end, he knew he needed to shut down the Mammoth on the other. Between the five-minute mark of the first quarter, and the seven-minute mark of the third, he only allowed two goals to get past his wickets. The Roughnecks scored 12 times in that time frame.
The Roughnecks totaled 33 penalty minutes by the end of the game, which might startle some people. Not head coach Curt Malawsky. Instead, he said the majority of those penalties came from working hard and competing, not discipline issues like they have been recently.
Quote of the Night:
“The guys are all buying in. We have a bunch of warriors and competitors and we all want to win, we don’t care who does what, as long as we get two points as a group, that’s all.” – Curt Malawsky.
Stat of the Night:
6: Six different Mammoth players took to the draw tonight against Geoff Snider. Only one, Ilija Gajic, ended up with the ball. Snider finished the night with 23 wins and only six losses, all to Gajic.
Goal/Turning Point of the Night:
When you watch the replay of this selection, it may not seem like much. There was a loose ball off to the side of the Mammoth net, with their netminder trotting out to pick it up in the scrum. Dane Dobbie dove down, swiped at the ball with his stick and directed it right to Shawn Evans who plunked it into the empty cage. It was the Roughnecks second marker of the night, and kickstarted the rest of the game.
Tweets of the Night:
Courtesty of Connie F, better known as @NewfieHun on Twitter:
“That's what the goalie said. RT @NLLRoughnecks: Not sure what happened, but it's 18-9 for the #NLLRoughnecks now.”
Second one is from Teddy Jenner (@offthecrossebar), an NLL analyst based from British Columbia.
“That's the @NLLRoughnecks team that I expected to see this year! Complete contribution from top to bottom. #HappyMouse #NLL”
Defender Curtis Manning missed his first game of the year due to medical school commitments. Second-year player Greg Harnett filled in nicely, having just been activated from the injured reserve.
Daryl Veltman made his return to the team after missing last week’s game due to injury.