Sometimes, you never know who will be the Calgary Roughnecks player to step up and give the offence a boost.
But when you have seven or eight players on the front end who can all find the back of the net, you don’t expect defender Dan MacRae to play that role.
With one career goal through two seasons, his skill set is more suited to being one of the most underrated defenders in the NLL.
So when he came own the left side of the floor on transition in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Wings with about nine minutes left, most fans likely expected him to pull away, pass it off and head to the bench as Calgary tried to hold onto the 10-8 lead.
But he saw an opportunity, shooting the ball on net for only the second time all year and sniped it past Wings goalie Brandon Miller.
“That’s what’s so good about Danny, taking that chance and it working out for him,” said teammate Geoff Snider. “It got the bench really fired up and it stopped a run. He’s the guy who can get the bench fired up like that. He’s a great team guy.”
It was only the fourth goal the Roughnecks could earn on Miller in over 30 minutes, but the floodgates opened up after that. Curtis Dickson, Dane Dobbie, Shawn Evans, Snider and Travis Cornwall all followed it up and the Roughnecks earned the 16-8 win Sunday afternoon.
“(MacRae) did some things tonight that didn’t get recognized,” Snider said. “There was a shift of his where he was all over the floor. The goal was great but Danny works so hard between the lines and in the trenches for us.”
MacRae also used his brain out there. With five minutes left – enough time for a possible Wings comeback – he wouldn’t fight Wings player Brodie Merrill, who picked up a two minute minor for unsportsmanlike conduct. Evans scored eight seconds later on the powerplay.
Once again, the Roughnecks showed why it’s almost impossible to key on one player in the offensive zone. Following Friday’s game against Colorado where five players sniped hat tricks, Calgary got multi-goal efforts from four players.
Scott Ranger is one tough son of a gun. During the second period, there was a battle in the corner that saw Ranger lose his helmet and appear to take a shot to his unprotected head. He eventually ran off to the dressing room, but was back on the bench within seconds. He assisted on a goal a few minutes later.
Specialty teams continued to be a strong point for the Roughnecks, who earned four goals with the man advantage on seven opportunities. Snider and Curtis Dickson added goals shorthanded as well. In the last two games, Calgary has combined for six goals shorthanded.
GOAL OF THE GAME
In the midst of the Roughnecks opening half onslaught, Dane Dobbie sniped a beautiful behind the back shot low on Kevin Croswell in traffic. The powerplay marker made it 6-1 for the visitors.
SAVE OF THE NIGHT
With the Wings getting closer and closer to tying up the game, forward Brodie Merrill barreled in on a breakaway. Mike Poulin stepped out, cut down the angles and made a big save on the former Edmonton Rush superstar.
STAT OF THE GAME
124: Through four games, Shawn Evans leads the league with 31 points, which puts him on pace for 124 points over the course of a 16 game season. Not only would it smash his personal high of 79 points, it would break the NLL record of 116 set last year by John Grant Jr.
3. Geoff Snider – He does exactly what you’d expect him to do. He wins draws (20 of 26 tonight), chips in the offence (3g,1a), scoops up loose balls (game high 13) and adds some grit and toughness to your roster.
2. Mike Poulin – He would probably like to replay the third frame where he allowed five goals in 15 minutes, but he was tremendous during the game. In the other three quarters, he only allowed a trio into the net, including a shutout in the first quarter.
1. Dane Dobbie – After missing the first game due to suspension, and a slow start in the second, Dobbie exploded over the weekend. Tonight, he notched four goals and two assists to go along with his four goal, seven point outburst against Colorado.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
“Goaltenders are at a premium and we have all the confidence in the world in Frankie (Scigliano), but Mike Poulin has played really good lacrosse for us for the last three years. You always want your number one goalie happy and you never want to see anyone hurt. We were pretty happy that he got up.” – Bob McMahon, about a scary moment late in the game. Poulin got tangled up with Ethan Farrell when the Wings forward went diving through the crease. He was down on the floor for a few seconds but bounced back up and finished the game.