SEASON OPENER: On Friday, the Calgary Roughnecks will open the 2014 campaign on the road against the Toronto Rock at 5:30 p.m. MT at Air Canada Centre. In his second year behind the bench for the Roughnecks, head coach Curt Malawsky has high hopes for the Riggers. “Like every team, we are very excited to get going,” Malawsky said. “It’s a big challenge for us to do it Toronto, but we hope to put our best foot forward and compete hard.”
ROUGHNECKS VS. ROCK: The Riggers compiled a 0-2 record against the Rock last season, dropping a 13-11 decision to open the season at home, followed by a 17-12 loss on Feb. 15 in Toronto. Shawn Evans led the way offensively for Calgary with nine points (3g, 6a). He scored a hat trick and dished two helpers in the first game, before following it up four assists in the second game. Curtis Dickson had two goals and three assists in the season opener, before notching another pair of goals and a single helper in the latter match-up. Daryl Veltman was also solid with one goal and six assists in the two-game set, while Dane Dobbie stood out with five goals and two assists in the February game, missing the season opener due to a suspension. On the Toronto side of the ball, veteran Garrett Billings led the all scorers for both teams. He followed up a four-assist effort in the first game with six goals and five helpers in the second contest, totaling 15 points. Colin Doyle (3g, 9a), Kasey Beirnes (4g, 5a), Stephen Leblanc (4g, 4a) and former Roughneck Josh Sanderson (4g, 4a) also contributed in the season-series sweep. Calgary goalie Mike Poulin went 0-2 against the Rock, while Toronto netminder Nick Rose was a perfect 2-0 in the series. Calgary has compiled an all-time regular season record of 9-16 (5-7 at home, 4-9 on the road) against the Rock.
A LOOK BACK: Led by the offensive exploits of Shawn Evans, the Roughnecks finished atop the 2013 NLL West Division with a 9-7 record. In his second season with the Riggers after being acquired from the Rochester Knighthawks, Evans led the NLL in scoring with 32 goals and 80 assists in 16 games played. He finished the year with 112 points (the fifth highest point total in NLL history) and was named the 2013 NLL MVP for his efforts. He was the second Roughnecks player to win the award, following Jeff Shattler in 2011. Curtis Dickson continued to improve in his third NLL season. He followed up a 31-goal sophomore season with a 42-goal effort last campaign to lead the Roughnecks. He also finished third in the NLL, behind now-Vancouver Stealth sniper Rhys Duch, and Colorado Mammoth legend John Grant Jr. Jeff Shattler finished second on the Roughnecks in scoring, tallying 33 goals and adding 41 assists for 74 points. Dobbie (40g, 32a), Scott Ranger (20g, 33a) and Daryl Veltman (13g, 30a) also had solid offensive seasons for the ’Necks. In net, Poulin was a workhorse for the Riggers as he compiled a 9-7 record to go with a 12.82 goals-against average and a 0.742 save percentage. After finishing first in the NLL’s West Division, the Roughnecks hosted the Colorado Mammoth (7-9) in the first round of the playoffs on April 27. Led by three goals and four assists from Shattler, the Roughnecks downed the Mammoth 15-10 to advance. Veltman (1g, 5a) Evans (3g, 2a), Ranger (3g, 1a) and Dobbie (4a) also contributed in the victory. The Roughnecks then moved onto play the then-Washington Stealth (9-7) in the West Final at the Scotiabank Saddledome on May 4. Dickson scored seven times and added an assist in the second half of the game, but the Stealth squeaked out a 14-13 win to eliminate the Roughnecks. Dobbie (3g, 2a), Evans (1g, 3a) and Shattler (4a) all played well in the loss.
RETURNING VETERANS: Captain Andrew McBride is one of 16 returning players on Calgary’s roster this year. Joining McBride on defence for another season is 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 Matthew Dinsdale. Geoff Snider and Curtis Manning return as transition players for the 2014 season. Mike Poulin will once again be the starter in between the pipes, while Frankie Scigliano will be counted upon as one of the back-up goalies.
NEW FACES: The four new faces on the Roughnecks roster came from the 2013 NLL Entry Draft. Transition players Tor Reinholdt (1st round, 6th overall) and Karsen Leung (2nd round, 10th overall), defenceman Garrett McIntosh (3rd round, 24th overall) and goalie Peter Dubenski (4th round, 34th overall) all made the squad out of training camp.
MOUSE’S MUSINGS: Curt Malawsky is entering his second season as head coach for the Calgary Roughnecks. Malawsky, who is also the assistant general manager, is very high on the incoming rookie class for the Riggers. “These guys add a lot of speed to our team, they have engines on them,” said Malawsky, who helped the Riggers win a Champion’s Cup in 2009 in the final season of his 12-year NLL playing career. “The big thing about all of these guys is that when the ball is on the turf, we’ll be able to pick it up and teams won’t have those multiple possessions they’ve had in the past.” Malawsky will be assisted by Bob McMahon as offence coordinator and Bruce Codd as defence coordinator. It’s the fourth season for McMahon on the Calgary coaching staff, while Codd is entering his second season with the Riggers.
LETTER MEN: Andrew McBride is back for another season as Calgary’s captain, while Mike Carnegie will again serve as alternate captain. With Scott Ranger on the Physically Unable To Perform list to start the season, head coach Curt Malawsky announced Dane Dobbie and Geoff Snider will split alternate captains duties, with Snider wearing an ‘A’ at home and Dobbie wearing an ‘A’ on the road. “Geoff will be a great addition to our leadership group. Over the last few seasons he has evolved into an ambassador of the culture and standards created within the Roughnecks organization,” said Malawsky. “Dane's passion and willingness to compete is second to none. He lives, breaths and sleeps lacrosse,” continued Malawsky. “The Roughnecks organization and his teammates are on his mind 24/7, and it is that kind of selflessness, dedication, commitment and passion that we are looking for in a leader.”
DID YOU KNOW?: With the addition of Reinholdt, the Riggers now have eight of their own first-round picks on their roster. The others are Dinsdale (seventh overall in 2012), Cornwall (seventh overall in 2011), Dickson (third overall in 2010), MacRae (sixth overall in 2010), Manning (sixth overall in 2008), Dobbie (fourth overall in 2007) and McFetridge (10th overall in 2007). The ’Necks also have three other first round picks who were originally selected by other teams: Veltman (first overall in 2008 by the Boston Blazers), Snider (fourth overall in 2006 by the Philadelphia Wings) and Shattler (10th overall in 2005 by the Buffalo Bandits).
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
- Curtis Dickson is tied with Tracey Kelusky for the franchise lead in all-time short-handed goals at 12.
- Daryl Veltman needs to score 11 more points to hit the 300-point mark.
- Geoff Snider is five goals away from 100.
- Mike Carnegie needs six more loose balls for 400. He’s also eight points away from 50 on his career.