THE CHAMPS ARE HERE - Calgary Roughnecks - News

Two-time defending NLL champs are taking on the Roughnecks on Saturday.

By Bryce Forbes | Published: 2/21/2014 at 1:18:46 PM

The Calgary Roughnecks are about to face off with one of the best teams the NLL has to offer.

The Rochester Knighthawks are coming to town on Saturday, bringing with them the last two NLL Champions Cups, and their 5-2 record on the season has them at near the top of the standings this year.

“We’re going to be playing a real hot Rochester team,” said head coach Curt Malawsky. “I’ve been watching tape all week and they’re solid. There’s no holes in that group. They’ve got a world-class goaltender (Matt Vinc), great offensive stats and their defence is big, strong and physical.”

Luckily for the Roughnecks, they are playing their best lacrosse of the season at the moment.

They are coming off a 20-9 complete dismantling of the Vancouver Stealth last weekend, and a 15-13 win over the Minnesota Swarm the week prior.

The team is firing on all cylinders on offense, while Mike Poulin is shutting down the net.

““The last couple weeks we’ve been playing really well as a group up front,” said Malawsky. “Our transition game was solid. Geoff Snider was good on the draws and contributed on the offensive end as well.”

However, they will be in tough when taking on the Knighthawks who sit 5-2 on the season, and will also be looking for their third straight win. Their 5-2 record is a half game back of the East Division leading Buffalo Bandits.

“If you don’t play mistake free lacrosse against a championship team like that, you’re going to end up on the short end of the stick,” Malawsky said. “You saw it in the Toronto game, every time that Toronto made a mistake it ended up in the back of their net. It’s very important that we play our systems to the best of our capabilities and hopefully we give them a good go.”

The Knighthawks are led on the backend by the best goaltender in the league in Matt Vinc, who’s GAA is just 8.27 on the season. His highest goals allowed in a game this season is just 10, meaning the high-scoring Roughnecks offense will be in tough on Saturday.

The last time the two teams met came in April of last season, where fans saw a true back-and-forth affair for 60 minutes.

The Roughnecks ended up losing the game 15-14, but Malawsky was proud of how his team played.

“I thought they left everything out there,” Malawsky said. “I’ve been around the game for 38 years and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Those guys have got nothing to be ashamed off out there. We were one shot short.”

Game time is 7 p.m. down at the Scotiabank Saddledome, with tickets still available. 

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