All the information needed before the Roughnecks take on the Edmonton Rush on Saturday night
ROAD WARRIORS: After starting the 2013 National Lacrosse League season with two straight losses at home, the Calgary Roughnecks (2-2) rebounded in a big way last weekend with a pair of road wins. Following a four-goal, nine-assist performance during a 19-12 win over the Colorado Mammoth at the Pepsi Center in Denver on Friday night, forward Shawn Evans then scored twice and set up four others as the Riggers doubled the Philadelphia Wings 16-8 two nights later at the Wells Fargo Center. “We knew how important those games were,” Evans said. “It was just good that we got the win Friday night and that things started clicking. I think we continued that onto Sunday.” Dane Dobbie also sniped four goals to go with three helpers in the win over the Mammoth, while Jeff Shattler (3g, 5a), Scott Ranger (3g, 4a) and Curtis Dickson (3g, 2a) all had hat tricks. Daryl Veltman (1g, 4a) and Geoff Snider (1g, 2a) also chipped in offensively, while goalie Mike Poulin made 37 saves to record the win. Dobbie counted four more goals and two assists in Sunday’s win over the Wings, while Dickson (3g, 2a) and Snider (3g, 1a) had hat-trick performances. Ranger (1g, 3a), Veltman (1g, 2a), Travis Cornwall (1g, 1a), Dan MacRae (1g), Shattler (3a) and Peter McFetridge (2a) also got in on the action, while Poulin stopped 42-of-50 shots fired his way to record his second win of the weekend.
OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION: With his 13-point performance against the Mammoth, Evans set a franchise record for most points in a single game. The previous mark of 11 was held by Dobbie, Lewis Ratcliff and John Kilbride. “Early in the game the ball was finding the back of the net,” Evans explained. “Then when I made a pass and a guy had an open opportunity, he was putting the ball in the net. When things are going like that, it’s just nice, because most times you don’t get that. It’s nice when you get into a little bit of a rhythm and things are going well for you.” While it was a new record for the Riggers, it wasn’t a new benchmark for Evans, who had a 14-point game (7g, 7a) against the Toronto Rock back in 2009 when he was a member of the Rochester Knighthawks. “I forgot about that one,” Evans said. “It’s just sort of how the game goes. Sometimes you get a lot of opportunities to score goals and to create plays and sometimes they don’t go in the net.” Calgary coach Curt Malawsky was quick to heap praise on Evans, who leads the NLL in scoring with 31 points (13g, 18a) through four games, for his play so far this season. “He’s a fierce competitor and he’s a great leader on and off the floor,” Malawsky said. “He makes everybody around him better. He’s been the glue to our offence. We’re very happy to have him on our side.”
WEEKLY WINNERS: By virtue of their strong performance, the Roughnecks took home three of the four weekly NLL awards in Week 4 of the season. Evans, who also picked up 12 loose balls in the two games, was named Offensive Player of the Week. Meanwhile, Snider earned accolades as Transition Player of the Week. In addition to recording four goals and three helpers in the two wins, Snider also scooped up 28 loose balls and won 42-of-55 faceoffs that he took last weekend. Snider made a statement against his former team when he won the opening faceoff and scored the first of his three goals just 15 seconds into Sunday’s game versus the Wings in Philadelphia. “He was fired up,” said Evans, who was also selected as the NLL’s Offensive Player of the Month for January. “It was his first game back in Philly after being traded. He had a lot of energy. Us guys, we had his back. It was nice to see him score 15 seconds into a game right off the bat.” After backstopping the Riggers to the two wins by stopping 79 of 98 shots he faced, Poulin was rewarded by being named Defensive Player of the Week.
RIVALRY RENEWED: The Roughnecks will play their third straight road game this Saturday (7 p.m.) when they travel to Edmonton to face the Rush (1-2) at Crystal Glass Field at Rexall Place. The ’Necks will be looking for redemption after suffering a disappointing 19-11 loss to the Rush in the first round of the 2012 NLL playoffs on May 5 at the Scotiabank Saddledome. “Yeah, they beat us last year in the playoffs, but we’ve got to forget about that and just build on what we’re trying to do,” Evans said. “We’ve just got to come take it another game at a time and take those two games we just played this (past) weekend and use that momentum and hopefully we can get back off on the right foot early.” After Saturday’s affair in Edmonton, the same two teams will meet up again a week later in Calgary on Feb. 9 at the ’Dome for the second half of the home-and-home affair. “It’s going to be a two-week little rivalry and hopefully we can start something early and get in their heads,” Evans said. “They’re a good team, so we’ve just got to continue to build and do the things that we need to do for our team to start gelling together so by the end of the season that we’re at the top of our game.” When the two teams last met, Ryan Ward notched five goals and added six assists to lead Edmonton to victory, thus knocking Calgary out of the playoffs. Corey Small (5g, 3a) also had a strong game for the Rush as did Tom Johnson (3g) and Zack Greer (2g, 3a), while goalie Aaron Bold stopped 39 saves to pick up the win. Ranger had four goals and one assist for the Riggers, while Dobbie (3g, 4a), Evans (2g, 4a) and Shattler (2g, 3a) also scored.
ROUGHNECKS VS. RUSH: The Roughnecks boast an all-time record of 20-4 (8-2 at home, 12-2 on the road) in the regular season against the Rush. The 20 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 last year. The Riggers opened the season series with a 12-8 win over the Rush at home at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Feb. 18. The ’Necks then ran to a 13-10 win in Edmonton on March 9 before downing the Rush 16-9 the next night back at home in Calgary. The Riggers then swept the season series by virtue of a 9-6 triumph at Rexall Place on April 21. Evans led all players with 11 goals and seven assists in the four-game series, while Shattler scored nine times to go with six assists. Despite not recording a point in the final game, Dickson tallied seven goals and six assists against the Rush, while Ranger scored three times and set up 10 others. Veltman (4g, 8a), Dobbie (4g, 5a in three games) and Snider (3g, 5a) also fared well against Edmonton. Shawn Williams led the Rush scoring attack with a goal and 13 assists in the four games, while Scott Evans scored eight times and set up four others despite only playing the first two games of the series. Neither Williams nor Evans are back with the Rush this season. Small (3g, 7a), Ward (3g, 6a) and Greer (5g, 1a), who are all back for another campaign with the Rush, were also solid contributors for Edmonton in 2012.
MOUSE’S MUSINGS: Curt Malawsky, whose nickname is ‘Mouse’, took over as the sixth head coach in Roughnecks’ history prior to the start of the 2013 season. Following two straight losses to start his head coaching career in Calgary, Malawsky was pleased to see his squad bounce back with a pair of road wins last weekend. “Our character came into question after the first two games,” Malawsky said. “Guys took that personally and we came together as a team. Obviously we’re better now than we were a couple weeks ago.” Malawsky will be assisted by Bob McMahon as offence coordinator and Bruce Codd as defence coordinator. It’s the third season for McMahon on the Calgary coaching staff, while Codd joined the Riggers this season.
A LOOK BACK: Led by the offensive exploits of Evans and Shattler, the Roughnecks finished atop the 2012 NLL standings with a 12-4 record. In his first year with the Riggers after being acquired from the Rochester Knighthawks, Evans led Calgary in scoring with 32 goals and 47 assists in 16 games played. Shattler followed up a 75-point season in 2011 with 72 points (31g, 41a) in 2012. Veltman (20g, 42a), Ranger (24g, 37a), Dickson (31g, 25a) and Dobbie (28g, 22a) also had solid offensive seasons for the ’Necks. In net, Poulin was a workhorse for the Riggers as he compiled a 10-3 record to go with a 10.27 goals-against average and a .789 save percentage. After finishing first in the NLL’s West Division, the Roughnecks hosted the Rush (6-10) in the first round of the playoffs on May 5 and suffered a 19-11 setback to end their season.
RETURNING VETERANS: Captain Andrew McBride leads a group of 19 returning players on Calgary’s roster this year. Joining McBride on defence for another season are Dan MacRae as well as the brother combinations of Mike and Scott Carnegie and Greg and Jon Harnett. Back from last season at forward are Jeff Shattler, Shawn Evans, Curtis Dickson, Daryl Veltman, Dane Dobbie and Scott Ranger. At the transition position, Geoff Snider, Curtis Manning, Travis Cornwall, Nolan Heavenor and Peter McFetridge are all back for the 2013 campaign. Mike Poulin will once again be the starter in between the pipes, while Frankie Scigliano will be counted upon to be a reliable back-up goalie.
NEW FACES: Among the four new faces on the Riggers this season are three of Calgary’s seven 2012 NLL Entry Draft selections: forward Joe Resetarits (first round, sixth overall), transition player Matthew Dinsdale (first round, seventh overall) and forward Jackson Decker (second round, 17th overall). The ’Necks also acquired forward Aaron Pascas from the Toronto Rock in exchange for a draft pick in the off-season.
LETTER MEN: McBride is back for another season as Calgary’s captain, while Mike Carnegie will again serve as an assistant. With the retirement of Kaleb Toth, another assistant spot opened up. Malawsky chose to reward Ranger for his leadership abilities. “He’s eager to do it,” Malawsky said. “He does a good job leading us without a letter and now he’s got a letter, so our leadership group is strong and we’re really going to lean on those guys.” Ranger said he was honoured to accept his new role as an assistant captain. “I try to base my game on leadership anyways,” he said. “Now with the letter, it just gives me the opportunity to talk to the refs. It’s definitely one of those things that I’m going to be proud to wear on my shirt for sure.”
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
- Goalie Mike Poulin needs just one win to reach 30 in his seventh season.
- By setting up five more goals, Jeff Shattler will reach the 200-assist mark.
- Nolan Heavenor is five points away from 100 in his eighth year in the NLL.
- Daryl Veltman needs to score seven more times to hit the 100-goal mark.
- Shawn Evans needs 12 goals to hit 200, 15 assists for 300, and 27 points to reach the 500-point plateau.