The Roughnecks get ready to face the Minnesota Swarm on Saturday at the Scotiabank Saddledome
BACK ON HOME TURF: The Calgary Roughnecks (5-2) will look to run their winning streak to four games when they host the Minnesota Swarm (4-3) in National Lacrosse League action at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday (7 p.m.). The Riggers thumped the previously undefeated Colorado Mammoth 21-10 at Denver’s Pepsi Center on Friday, Feb. 24, while the Swarm earned a hard-fought 15-7 road win over the Washington Stealth in Everett, Wash., that same evening. After his team’s huge win over the Mammoth, Calgary coach Dave Pym almost immediately turned his attentions towards preparing his squad for another big game against the Swarm. “We’re going to obviously do a lot of game-film preparation and come up with a game plan to hopefully come out with a great effort against Minnesota,” Pym said. “It’s going to be a challenge and one that we need to mentally be preparing from now.”
MAMMOTH VICTORY: Travis Cornwall led Calgary with four goals in the win over Colorado, which helped the Roughnecks avenge a 13-12 overtime setback to the Mammoth at home on Jan. 21. “We had a game plan offensively, defensively and on transition and I thought we executed extremely well,” said Calgary coach Dave Pym. “We showed tonight that we have the ability to play against the top teams in the league and compete hard.” Daryl Veltman scored three times and set up six others for the ’Necks. Shawn Evans also had a hat trick to go with three assists, while Curtis Dickson scored three times to go with two helpers. Jeff Shattler had two goals and six assists, while Scott Ranger (1g, 6a), Kaleb Toth (2g, 2a), Geoff Snider (2g, 1a), Cory Conway (6a) and Dan MacRae (2a) also had multiple-point performances. Nolan Heavenor scored once for Calgary during the onslaught. Calgary goalie Mike Poulin stopped 28 of 34 shots he faced to record his second straight win and fourth of the season, while Nick Rose made six saves in a relief appearance. John Grant Jr. led the Mammoth with four goals and three assists, all in the second half, while Gavin Prout scored twice and set up three others. Jamie Lincoln had two goals for Colorado, while Mat MacLeod and Scott Stewart also scored. Former Roughneck goalie Chris Levis took the loss in net for the Mammoth. Levis finished with 28 saves, while rookie Dan Lewis made a relief appearance for his first-ever NLL action and stopped 10 of 14 shots he faced.
ROUGHNECKS VS. SWARM: Calgary went 1-1 against Minnesota last season. Following a 15-12 win over the Swarm at home on April 1, the Roughnecks suffered a 13-8 setback to the Swarm on the road the next night. Toth led the way offensively for the Riggers with three goals and eight assists during the home-and-home affair. Dane Dobbie scored four times and added six assists, while Conway (4g, 5a), Veltman (2g, 7a), Dickson (2g, 4a) and Shattler (3g, 2a) also performed well. Aaron Wilson, who’s now with the Edmonton Rush, had five goals and five assists for Minnesota in the two-game set against Calgary last season, while Ryan Benesch also put up 10 points with four goals and six assists. Callum Crawford had four goals and two assists, while Kevin Ross scored twice and set up three others. Calgary has an all-time record of 5-4 (4-2 at home, 1-2 on the road) in the regular season against Minnesota. The two teams have never met in the playoffs.
PYM’S PERSPECTIVE: Pym, who took over as the fifth head coach in Roughnecks’ history prior to the 2010 season, said that his players will have to be at their best to beat the Swarm on Saturday. “They’re a young team with a lot of youthful exuberance,” Pym said. “We got wrote off a year or two ago when we lost some of our veterans and we answered the bell and that’s exactly what they’ve done. You can’t take a team like that lightly and we certainly won’t.” Once again this season, Pym is being assisted by Curt Malawsky as offence coordinator and Bob McMahon as defence coordinator. It’s the third season for Malawsky on the Calgary coaching staff, while McMahon is back for his second year behind the bench.
DID YOU KNOW?: Veltman’s nine-point performance against the Mammoth tied his career high that he set in his very first National Lacrosse League game on Jan. 10, 2009 with the Boston Blazers when he had a goal and eight assists against the New York Titans. “I had no idea,” Veltman said. “I was having too much fun out there. Things were just working for us. We were running our systems properly and we were finding the open guy in the middle, which is what we’ve been practising all season. It was good to see it working out there.”
SNIDER EARNS ACCOLADES: For his efforts to help the Riggers trounce the Mammoth 21-10, Snider was named as the NLL’s Transition Player of the Week for the third time this season. Snider also won the Transition award after Week 1 and 6. Against Colorado, Snider scored twice, drew one assist, tracked down 19 loose balls and was 27 for 31 in the faceoff circle.
ALL-STAR MVP: Snider was named the 2012 NLL All-Star MVP last Saturday night at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY. Snider, who received his first All-Star MVP award in 2008, registered four goals, added two assists and won 22 of 26 face-offs as the West beat the East 20-18. Shattler tallied one goal and set up three others for the West while Manning forced two turnovers in his first All-Star appearance.
DICKSON DELIVERS: Dickson notched three goals and added two assists to lead the Roughnecks to a 12-8 win over the Edmonton Rush on Saturday, Feb. 18, in front of 8,049 fans at the Saddledome. Every time Dickson has suited up against Edmonton, the Calgary forward has notched a hat trick. “It’s a pretty funny coincidence, but it’s tough not to get up for games against these guys,” Dickson said. “It’s the Battle of Alberta. I got to experience it last year four times. It’s just a great rivalry.” In his rookie season, Dickson had hat tricks in all four games – all wins for the Riggers – against the Rush in 2011. “He’s an incredible talent,” Pym said. “He’s got a nose for the net and he’s got a capacity to bury ’em.” Cornwall scored the first two goals of his NLL career against Edmonton, both in the fourth quarter during which the Riggers outscored the Rush 6-2. Shattler had two goals and three assists in the contest, while Veltman (2g, 2a), Evans (1g, 3a), Snider (1g, 2a) and Manning (1g) also contributed to the big win. Poulin made 40 saves in the Calgary net and chipped in with two assists for good measure. Scott Evans led the Rush attack with a two goals and three assists, while Corey Small also scored twice to go with two helpers. Edmonton goalie Aaron Bold stopped 37 of 49 shots he faced in a losing cause.
OH BROTHER: Since the 2008 season, brothers Scott and Mike Carnegie have suited up for the Roughnecks on defence. This year, they’re joined on the back end by another brother tandem in Jon and Greg Harnett. While Jon appeared in all 16 games with the Riggers last season after playing the previous two seasons for Boston, Greg cracked Calgary’s roster this year as a rookie. The Riggers chose Greg in the second round (11th overall) of the 2011 NLL Entry Draft. Three of Calgary’s five picks at last year’s draft played well enough at training camp to earn spots on the roster. The others are transition player Cornwall (first round, seventh overall) and goalie Frankie Scigliano (second round, 18th overall).
RETURNING VETERANS: McBride leads a group of 18 returning vets on Calgary’s roster this year. “When we’re firing on all cylinders, staying disciplined and playing our game, we’re one of the top teams in the league,” said McBride, who anchors Calgary’s defence corps. The Roughnecks are also pleased to welcome back Shattler, Dobbie, Ranger, Dickson, Conway, Veltman and Toth at forward. Joining McBride on defence are the brother tandems of Mike and Scott Carnegie and Jon and Greg Harnett (the latter of whom is a rookie), along with Mike Kilby and Dan MacRae. Transition players Nolan Heavenor, Peter McFetridge, Manning and Snider are also back in the fold along with Poulin in goal.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
- Shawn Evans is four points away from reaching 400.
- Scott Ranger is just one loose balls shy of 300, while he needs to play seven more games to reach 100.
- Kaleb Toth is five assists shy of 400. Toth also needs just eight more loose balls to reach 800.
- Curtis Dickson needs two goals to reach 50 and 18 points to hit 100.
- Nolan Heavenor is 10 points shy of 100.
- Dan MacRae needs to scoop up just nine more loose balls to reach 100.