Roughnecks GM, Mike Board provides his thoughts on Friday's match-up versus Colorado, and more.
1) With a home win under the Roughnecks belt, in what way does that boost confidence heading into Colorado to play the undefeated (6-0) Mammoth?
Wins are hard to come by in this league but getting that first one at home was a confidence-booster, particularly the way the guys played in the fourth quarter. They put the pedal to the metal and scored six times to put the win away. Colorado beat us in our building on our home opener and are a very good team right now. We'll need to be good as a group and stay disciplined to get a win in their rink.
2) Essentially the Roughnecks are two goals away from a perfect record themselves, how can that serve as motivation?
Anytime you are facing an undefeated team there is motivation. Colorado is the team everyone in the league is chasing. We expect the guys to be ready to go.
3) The Roughnecks will be going up against the current NLL leading goal scorer and point leader in John Grant Jr, how do you contain a player like that?
I am not sure you can totally contain a player like John Grant Jr. He is so good with his stick. He has great vision on the floor. What we need to do is limit his chances because, when he gets a chance, he usually makes good on it. As a group we have to be aware when Grant Jr. is on the floor and be aware of how dangerous he can be if he is given time and space.
4) Calgary boasts a 3-0 record on the road, what factors have contributed to the road success thus far?
We've had very solid team efforts in all our road wins. We have had balanced scoring, good defence and good goaltending. That will have to continue if we want to be road warriors.
5) How would you describe the rivalry over the years between Calgary and Colorado?
It's intense. There have been some playoff tilts between the two teams which always helps a rivalry. This year they are a big, fast team with great goaltending. We know they are a tough opponent so that adds to the rivalry.
6) In their first meeting this season, the Mammoth capitalized on their powerplay opportunities (6-10) as well as scored the game winning goal in OT, how can you learn from these physical/mental trials?
Plain and simple you have to be disciplined and not take penalties against Colorado. John Grant Jr. is a terrific power play quarterback and they score a lot with the man advantage. The best way to stop that is to not let the power play on the floor.
7) Now that we are six games into the season, what have you learned about this squad (both positive and negative)?
I think we have a team that is built for a lot of different situations. We can score five-on-five. We can play a tough game. We can play a transition game. We can shut down teams at times, which is also a good sign. It's a tight group, which is also nice to see. One area I think we would like to improve on is taking less penalties. But that can be difficult when you play an aggressive style of defence like we do.
8) Do you believe there is a clearcut contender in the league at this point or is it still up for grabs?
Well, you would have to say Colorado is a contender with a 6-0 record. But it is pretty wide open. The games are all close around the league. It feels a little like anybody can win on any given day.
It might take some more time for teams to create separation. But remember, eight teams make the playoffs and those are one-game showdowns. There is a lot of parity on the league so picking a clear-cut contender is a tricky proposition.