The Calgary Roughnecks finally found that extra gear, the killer instinct, whatever you want to call it on Sunday afternoon.
In their first two losses of the year on home floor, the Roughnecks had their opponents on the ropes, but couldn’t deliver the knockout punch to earn the victory.
But that trend stopped on Sunday afternoon in a 16-8 domination on the road against the Philadelphia Wings.
“We started to put teams away right now,” opined Dane Dobbie, who finished with a quartet of goals to go along with two helpers. “We learned our lesson against Colorado (last week), where we were up four goals and we kind of let off.
“Teams can come back from five or six goals in the fourth quarter. We have to put teams away, and that’s through hard work from us.”
Calgary took advantage early of a slow, tired Wings team that played Saturday night. The visitors jumped on Wings backup goaltender Kevin Croswell, pinpointing their shots with ease on the way to a 4-0 first frame. After Dobbie made it 7-1 in the second quarter, usual starting goaltender Brandon Miller made his return to the net and seemed to slow down the Roughnecks attack.
However, it was 8-2 Roughnecks at the half.
“We were pretty complete out there,” said offensive coordinator Bob McMahon. “Eight goals is a pretty good half and the defence was outstanding. Any time you can hold a team to two goals in a half, it’s a pretty good half."
But penalty trouble from the Roughnecks opened the door for the Wings, who scored on three straight powerplay opportunities in the third frame. The momentum was in the hands of the home team, who closed the gap to 10-8 early in the fourth.
But then Dan MacRae made his rare appearance on the offensive side. In transition, he was able to sneak one passed Miller and it was the kickstart the Roughnecks needed.
“That’s what’s so good about Danny, taking that chance and working out for him,” said transition star Geoff Snider, who finished with a hat trick in his return to Philadelphia. “It got the bench really fired up, it stopped a run. He’s the guy who can get the bench fired up like that.”
From there, goals from Curtis Dickson, Dobbie, Shawn Evans, Snider and Travis Cornwall marked a six-goal run that Philadephia never responded to.
The win completed a perfect weekend for the Roughnecks, who bounce back to 2-2 on the season and good enough for second place in the West Division. They also picked up a 19-12 victory over the Colorado Mammoth Friday night.
“We always talk about tipping points in the season so maybe this was one of our tipping points where we get on the road, get together and find a couple of wins on the road,” McMahon said. “We were 7-1 on the road last year so getting on the road doesn’t scare us. We will take our wins where we can get them.”
Dobbie (4g,2a) and Evans (2g,4a) both put up six-point performances, while Dickson (3g,2a) and Geoff Snider (3g,1a) notched hat tricks. Scott Ranger (1g,3a) Jeff Shattler (3a), Daryl Veltman (1g,2a) and Peter McFeteridge (2a) rounded out the score sheet. Even goaltender Mike Poulin helped his cause with a pair of helpers.
For the Wings, their offence came from Paul Rabil (3g,2a), Kevin Crowley (2g,3a), Kevin Ross (2g,1a) and Drew Westervelt (1g).
Poulin once again stood tall in front of the Roughnecks net, stopping 42 of 50 shots tossed his way.
Snider was an ace on the faceoff dot, winning 20 of 26 duels, while Nolan Heavenor was perfect in his three attempts.
The Roughnecks have one more game on the road next weekend against the Edmonton Rush in the first half of a home-and-home series on Feb. 2nd. Calgary will be back on home floor one week later to face the Rush again. Game time is 7 p.m.