News and notes as the Roughnecks prepare to take on the Edmonton Rush on Saturday night.
HOME AT LAST: Following three straight road games, the Calgary Roughnecks (5-4) finally return to the Scotiabank Saddledome to face off against the Edmonton Rush (4-5) on Saturday night (7 p.m.). While the Roughnecks suffered a disappointing 16-14 loss to the Washington Stealth last Saturday night in Everett, Wash., the Rush ran to a 14-9 road win over the Minnesota Swarm earlier that same afternoon. “Three of the last four games they’ve won and they’ve won convincingly,” said Calgary coach Curt Malawsky in regards to facing the Rush. “It’s always a war, it’s always a battle and it’s going to come down to probably the last shot wins. We expect a good challenge and we’re going to really concentrate on what we need to do to win that game.” Edmonton coach Derek Keenan said it will definitely be a tough task for his team to emerge with a victory in Calgary against the Roughnecks, who will be looking for redemption. “We’ve got a little bit of momentum behind us,” Keenan said. “We hope to keep this going. It’s always a tough battle going in there though. We need to have our best to beat these guys because they’re a good team and they’re probably going to be hungry after last week. Most teams this year have really bounced back from losses. They’re going to be as prepared as we will.”
FOREVER A ROUGHNECK: Kaleb Toth will be recognized as the first recipient of the “Forever A Roughneck” distinction for a franchise player. Toth will receive the honour on Saturday at Kaleb Toth Night prior to Calgary’s home game against Edmonton. Toth will be accompanied by his family and members of the Roughnecks team in a pre-game ceremony at the Scotiabank Saddledome. A special banner for Toth will be hoisted to the rafters and will remain on permanent display at the ’Dome. “It’s going to be a really big night for our organization and for the guys in the room,” Malawsky said. “We’re going to honour Kaleb and then we’re going to put our work boots on and go out and battle. We’re looking at taking care of what we need to take care of and Kaleb will definitely be that angel on our shoulder that night for sure.” Calgary captain Andrew McBride said he and his teammates would definitely like to honour Toth by beating the Rush following the pre-game ceremony. “To have that honour, to have the family honoured is going to be great and I know it’s going to be great for our team to see one of the best out there honoured and recognized,” McBride said. “We’re really excited for him and hopefully we can get a win for him.”
CALLING IT A CAREER: Before the start of the 2013 NLL season, Toth announced his retirement on Dec. 20. Toth, who was acquired from the Toronto Rock prior to the 2002 NLL season, spent the last 11 seasons in a Calgary uniform after his first two seasons with Toronto. Toth is a veteran of more than 200 NLL regular season and playoff games combined. “I would like thank the Roughnecks, my teammates, past and present, for their support and for the memories we will always share,” Toth said. “I would especially like to thank my family for their continued support and look forward to spending time with my wife, son and daughter and my future endeavours.” The Calgary native is a four-time NLL all-star (2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006) and holds almost every regular season offensive record for the Roughnecks including most goals (274), assists (354), points (628) and game-winning goals (15). In addition to leading the Roughnecks to two NLL championships (2004 and 2009) and one with the Toronto Rock (2000), Toth has established the Roughnecks franchise record for playoff assists (34), power-play goals (8), loose balls (78) and is second in games played (16), goals (22) and points (56).
COMEBACK NOT ENOUGH: Despite firing eight goals in the fourth quarter last Saturday night, the Roughnecks still suffered a 16-14 setback to the Washington Stealth. Down 12-6 heading into the final frame, the Riggers rallied to tie up the contest 13-13 before the Stealth scored three late goals to seal the victory. Jeff Shattler led the Riggers with three goals and three assists, while Curtis Dickson also had a hat trick to go with an assist. Shawn Evans (2g, 4a), Dane Dobbie (2g, 3a), Geoff Snider (1g, 1a), Daryl Veltman (1g, 1a) and Scott Ranger (2a) also had multiple-point performances, while rookies Joe Resetarits and Matthew Dinsdale each scored once. For Dinsdale, it was his first-ever NLL goal. Rhys Duch led the Stealth attack with three goals and seven assists, while Athan Iannucci (4g, 3a) and former Roughneck Lewis Ratcliff (1g, 6a) chipped in with seven points apiece.
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. While his team will definitely be motivated on Saturday to win the game for Toth after he’s honoured with the “Forever A Roughneck” distinction, Malawsky said the Riggers should have added incentive to rebound from last Saturday’s loss to the Stealth. “There’s definitely going to be some extra motivation, but I think the biggest motivation for our group is that we just got ourselves handed a big loss,” Malawsky said. “The score wasn’t indicative of what happened. We should have lost by six or seven. I think that’s going to be our motivation to put that complete game together.” Malawsky is being assisted by Bob McMahon as offence coordinator and Bruce Codd as defence coordinator this season. It’s the third season for McMahon on the Calgary coaching staff, while Codd joined the Riggers this season.
DICKSON DOES IT AGAIN: It’s safe to say that Dickson loves playing against the Edmonton Rush. Dickson scored his fourth goal of the game with 38.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter to lead the Calgary Roughnecks to a 9-8 win over the Edmonton Rush on Feb. 9 at the ’Dome, the last time the two clubs met. In 10 career regular season games against the Rush, Dickson has a pair of four-goal games in addition to five other hat-trick performances. “It’s the Battle of Alberta,” Dickson said. “It’s a West Division opponent. All that wrapped into one makes it an easy game to get up for.” Shattler scored once and set up two others for the ’Necks, who also beat the Rush 18-15 a week earlier in Edmonton at Crystal Glass Field at Rexall Place. Calgary goalie Mike Poulin stopped 45 of 53 shots he faced to record the win. “That was a big one for us,” Poulin said. “We needed to reward the fans for the great support they’ve given us.” Evans and Greg Harnett each had a goal and an assist for Calgary in the contest. Resetarits and Mike Carnegie also scored, while Snider and Aaron Pascas chipped in with three assists each. Jarrett Davis led the Rush with a hat trick, rookie Mark Matthews had two goals and two assists, while Ryan Ward notched a goal and three helpers.
ROUGHNECKS VS. RUSH: The Roughnecks boast an all-time record of 22-4 (9-2 at home, 13-2 on the road) in the regular season against the Rush. The 22 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 in the regular season last year. The Riggers opened the season series with a 12-8 win over the Rush at home at the ’Dome 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 in Edmonton 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. Corey Small (3g, 7a), Ward (3g, 6a) and Zack Greer (5g, 1a), who are all back for another campaign with the Rush, were also solid contributors for the Rush in 2012.
STINGING SETBACK: Despite their regular-season success against the Rush, the Riggers suffered a stunning 19-11 loss to the Rush in the first round of the 2012 NLL playoffs on May 5 at the ’Dome. “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. Ward notched five goals and added six assists to lead Edmonton to the post-season victory, thus knocking Calgary out of the playoffs. Small (5g, 3a) also had a strong game for the Rush as did Tom Johnson (3g) and 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.
DID YOU KNOW?: Dickson has scored four game-winning goals this season, including two against the Rush. Dickson also scored the game winner during Calgary’s 19-12 road win over the Colorado Mammoth on Jan. 25 and notched the deciding goal on Feb. 16 as the Riggers edged the Minnesota Swarm 17-16 at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, MN. Snider has the other game-winning tally for the Riggers and he sniped it against his former team, the Philadelphia Wings. Snider’s short-handed tally on Jan. 27 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia stood up as the eventual game winner.
ON THE VERGE: In just three seasons, Curtis Dickson has now tied Tracey Kelusky for the franchise lead in all-time short-handed goals at 12. He has six short-handed goals this season and is one away from matching the NLL single-season record, which is shared by three players including Washington forward Jeff Zywicki, who accomplished the feat in 2008 when he was a member of the San Jose Stealth.
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, named the 2012 NLL Goaltender of the Year, 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 with 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 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
- Curtis Dickson is now tied with Tracey Kelusky for the franchise lead in all-time short-handed goals at 12. He’s also one away from matching the NLL single-season record of seven short-handed goals in one year.
- Daryl Veltman needs to score four more times to hit the 100-goal mark.
- Nolan Heavenor is four points away from 100.
- Shawn Evans needs five goals to hit 200.
- Geoff Snider is 11 goals away from 100.
- With 22 more points, Scott Ranger will reach 400.