News, notes and analysis from the Roughnecks epic 15-10 win over the Colorado Mammoth.
The Calgary Roughnecks did something they haven’t been able to do all year – a perfect third quarter.
They’ve had a few bad ones. They’ve had some pretty good ones in the regular season – four times they allowed only two goals in the frame.
But Saturday night was only one that could be described as absolutely perfect.
Not a single ball got past goalie Mike Poulin, and four ended up in the Colorado Mammoth cage. It was all the ammunition the Roughnecks needed for a 15-10 win to advance to the NLL West Division Final next Saturday.
“In the years past and even this year, the third quarter has always been our downfall,” said Jeff Shattler. “We really buckled down and said we are going to play as hard as we can for five minutes at a time. Our defense, even before we went out, said they were going to hold them.”
They didn’t make it easy on themselves at all.
Less than a minute in, Dane Dobbie got sent away for boarding, and a minute after Dobbie was released from the box, Curtis Dickson was given a five-minute major for high-sticking.
“We haven’t had the most success against them as a penalty kill unit. The goal was to stop the first shot and see what happens,” Poulin revealed.
He made a few saves, and Scott Ranger went down and scored.
“The new goal was let’s hold them to one, we will break even.”
Poulin made a few more saves and Shattler went down and scored.
“It turned into let’s kill this thing.”
That’s exactly what they did. Seven minutes their penalty kill unit was on the floor and they were plus-2.
It started a run of six-straight Roughnecks goals that lasted until the three-minute mark of the forth quarter.
Poulin was credited with a shutout streak of 21:55, but he was quick to praise his defensive unit that played the best he’s seen all year.
“Even in the first half, giving up seven, I thought our D guys played great,” Poulin said. “They just scored a couple of softies that I let go by me so I think as a defensive unit, they were fantastic.
“John Grant Jr., Casey Powell, Adam Jones, holding them to ten, it’s not easy so the D played fantastic.”
The scary thing about the defensive unit tonight was that they could throw 10 or 11 different guys out there without any fear there could be a weak link on the floor. The scarier thing about the defensive unit – they were without Curtis Manning tonight, and he’s one of the best defenders in the league.
It was one of the smartest plays we’ve seen done by a Roughnecks player all year, but the execution wasn’t exactly perfect. In the dying seconds of the third quarter, the Mammoth pulled their goalie for the extra attacker. Jon Harnett rushed off the bench, caught Adam Jones sleeping with a clean stick check, sending the ball to the ground. Captain Andrew McBride lobbed it towards the empty net and Harnett caught up with it to make sure it went in. As the ball crossed the goal line, he stepped into the crease. Upon further review, it was declared a no goal. But it did inspire this epic tweet from Harnett after the game.
He’s thanking god the game wasn’t decided by one goal.
With the Roughnecks now facing the Washington Stealth, one point has already been made. Two years ago, the Stealth came into the Scotiabank Saddledome in the West Division Final and ended Calgary’s chance of hosting the NLL Championship Game. They want revenge.
1. Jeff Shattler ~ Sure, he lead the team with three goals and seven points, but he was a force all over the floor. He ended a few Mammoth transition opportunities with his speed, and played one of his best games all year.
2. Jon Harnett ~ It’s hard to pick a defensive player to single out, since their success is about working as a team. But Harnett was all over the floor, forced a game-high four turnovers and added five loose balls. His brother Greg also played one great game.
3. Mike Poulin ~ I know it seems that we pick Poulin every week for one of the three stars, but I think every week the players would agree he’s one of the best three players on the floor. Tonight, he had a long shutout streak, and allowed a single goal in the second half. Teams will win 99.9 per cent of the time if they allow just one goal in the second half.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
1: the Mammoth scored one goal on three powerplays. Calgary scored two goals shorthanded.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
The Mammoth did go back and forth a few times.