BACK IN THE SADDLE: Following a bye week, the Calgary Roughnecks return to action this weekend with a home game at the Scotiabank Saddledome against the Buffalo Bandits on Saturday night (7 p.m.). “We’re going to do a lot of prep work in terms of scouting reports on their players and their systems as well as film,” said Calgary coach Dave Pym. “We’ll pull as much film as we can on them.”
By sweeping a home-and-home series against the Edmonton Rush on the weekend of March 9, the Riggers improved their record to 7-3 to secure their possession of second spot in the National Lacrosse League’s West Division. After downing the Rush 13-10 in Edmonton on March 9, the ’Necks followed up with a 16-9 triumph over their northern Alberta counterparts at the ’Dome the next night.
PERSEVERANCE PAYS OFF: Curtis Dickson lived up to his ‘Superman’ nickname with a pair of highlight-reel goals to lead the Riggers to a 13-10 win over the Rush at Rexall Place on March 9. On two separate occasions, Dickson went airborne before tucking the ball into the top corner behind Edmonton goalie Aaron Bold. “I like making that play,” said Dickson, who finished the game with four goals and three assists. “If you can get your stick over there and get the ball around him, it’s going to go in hopefully the majority of the time and it worked out twice for me tonight.” Dickson also scored a shorthanded marker while the Roughnecks were killing off a two-man disadvantage and added an empty-net goal. It’s the first four-goal goal game against Edmonton for Dickson, who notched hat tricks in all five previous games he played against the Rush over his first two seasons in the NLL. Pym commended Dickson for yet another outstanding effort against the Rush. “He’s an incredible athlete and one of the toughest checks in the league,” Pym said. “It’s awesome that he’s on our team because I’d hate to have to defend him night in and night out.”
BOUNCE-BACK EFFORT: After recording just one assist during Calgary’s disappointing 15-11 loss at home to the Minnesota Swarm on March 3, Jeff Shattler bounced back with a hat trick and a helper against the Rush one week later. Shattler readily admitted to having an off game against the Swarm and was happy to help the Riggers beat the Rush. “I really wanted to prove myself tonight,” Shattler said. “I was just glad to help out my team.” Scott Ranger scored twice and set up four others for the ’Necks against the Rush, while Dane Dobbie also had two goals to go with three assists. Shawn Evans and Daryl Veltman chipped in with a goal and an assist each. Scott Evans led the Rush attack with an impressive six-goal outing to go with one assist. Tom Johnson, Aaron Wilson, Kyle Rubisch and Zack Greer also scored, while Shawn Williams had four assists. Calgary netminder Mike Poulin stopped 42-of-52 shots he faced to record the win, while Edmonton goalie Aaron Bold made 44 saves at the other end of the floor.
RUSH CRUSHED: Shawn Evans fired five goals to lead the Roughnecks to a 16-9 win over the Rush on March 10. Evans notched three of his goals in the fourth quarter during which the Roughnecks outscored the Rush 7-0. “We have a good squad here and we just kept pushing,” said Evans. Peter McFetridge had a hat trick and two assists for the Riggers, who ran their regular-season winning streak against the Rush to nine games. “It’s a rivalry that’s been around forever,” said McFetridge, whose five-point performance set a new career high. “Definitely, we don’t have a problem getting up for these games.” Shattler and Geoff Snider counted two goals and an assist each, while Veltman (1g, 2a), Ranger (1g, 2a), Dobbie (1g, 1a) and Cory Conway (1g, 1a) also scored. Greer led the Rush attack with three goals and an assist, while Scott Evans counted two goals and two assists. Ryan Ward scored once and set up two others, while Derek Suddons, Corey Small and Rubisch also scored. Playing in his 188th straight game to tie the NLL’s ironman record, Williams recorded four assists for the Rush to become the sixth player in NLL history to surpass the 1,000-point plateau. Poulin stopped 40-of-49 shots he faced in the Calgary net to improve his record to 6-3. Aaron Bold and Brodie Macdonald split time in the Edmonton net. Bold finished with 23 saves, while Macdonald stopped 8-of-13 shots he faced.
WEEKLY WINNERS: For their efforts in leading the Roughnecks to the home-and-home sweep of the Rush, Evans and McFetridge were honoured by the NLL. Evans, who was voted the Offensive Player of the Week for Week 10, scored six goals, including one on a penalty shot, added two assists and collected a total of seven loose balls in the two-game set against the Rush. McFetridge, who was selected as Transition Player of the Week for the same timeframe, finished with three goals, two assists and scooped up 11 loose balls in the weekend series. All five of his points were scored during Saturday’s 16-9 home win for a new career single-game high.
RUCKUS IN THE ROUGH HOUSE: Both the Roughnecks and Rush sweetened the pot in an effort to attract fans to check out the Battle of Alberta on March 9 and 10. In what the Roughnecks billed as the Cardel Ruckus in the Rough House, the team with the highest paid attendance on the weekend would win a charitable donation in the amount of $5,000 for their local minor lacrosse program. The Roughnecks fans prevailed with an attendance of 8,316 to win the fan edition of the Battle of Alberta, earning the Calgary District Lacrosse Association (CDLA) a $5,000 donation. Both squads put up $2,500 towards the fan challenge as Edmonton saw 7,438 fans attend Friday night’s contest at Rexall Place.
ROUGHNECKS VS. BANDITS: The Roughnecks have an all-time regular-season record of 2-4 (2-3 at home, 0-1 on the road) against the Bandits. In their lone meeting last year, the Riggers started off their 10th anniversary season in fine fashion with a 10-9 win at home over the Bandits on Jan. 9, 2011. Ranger scored five times to lead the way offensively for the Riggers, while Dickson netted the first two goals of his pro career in his first-ever NLL game. Kaleb Toth had a goal and three helpers for Calgary, Nolan Heavenor and Snider also scored, while Dobbie and Shattler chipped in with three assists each. Poulin made 37 saved to record the win for Calgary. After being honoured in a pre-game ceremony for his eight years as a Roughneck, former Calgary captain Tracey Kelusky had a goal and three assists for the Bandits. Meanwhile Roger Vyse led all Buffalo players with two goals and four assists. The Riggers have also faced the Bandits twice in post-season action, losing 16-9 in Buffalo on April 19, 2003 in their first-ever playoff game before exacting a measure of revenge one season later in Calgary on May 7, 2004 with a 14-11 victory in the NLL final to capture the 2004 Champion’s Cup.
TRADE WINDS: On March 19, the Roughnecks traded goaltender Nick Rose and a conditional second-round selection in the 2014 NLL Entry Draft to the Toronto Rock in exchange for Toronto’s first-round pick in the 2014 NLL Entry Draft. "As an organization we are committed to continuing to build our team through draft picks,” commented Calgary General Manager Mike Board. "Having three goalies made it difficult to provide necessary playing time to develop our younger talent. This trade allows us to commit to our starter, Mike Poulin, and rookie Frankie Scigliano heading down the stretch." The Roughnecks acquired Rose in the first round (seventh overall) of the 2011 Boston Blazers Dispersal Draft. This season the Orangeville, Ontario, native, dressed for five games with Calgary and registered 17 saves in two relief appearances for a total of just under 33 minutes played.
PYM’S PERSPECTIVE: According to Pym, who took over as the fifth head coach in Roughnecks’ history prior to the 2010 season, Buffalo play a similar style of defence as Calgary which should help his players prepare for their lone game of the year against the Bandits. “The benefit is that they play the same pressure D that we do,” Pym said. “Everybody’s got their own nuances to it, but similar styles. We’re familiar with what they’re going to do to us defensively. Offensively we’ll have to take a peek at what they’re kind of doing right now and make some adjustments to our D to try and minimize their opportunities against us.” 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.
ALL-STAR MVP: Snider was named the 2012 NLL All-Star MVP on Feb. 25 at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY. Snider also won the All-Star MVP award in 2008 when he represented the Philadelphia Wings. This year, he registered four goals, added two assists and won 22-of-26 face-offs as the West beat the East 20-18. Shattler and Manning also represented the Riggers in Buffalo. Shattler tallied one goal and set up three others for the West while Manning forced two turnovers in his first All-Star appearance.
VETERAN ROSTER: Captain Andrew McBride leads a group of 18 returning vets on Calgary’s roster this year. The Roughnecks are also pleased to welcome back Jeff Shattler, Dane Dobbie, Scott Ranger, Curtis Dickson, Cory Conway, Daryl Veltman and Kaleb 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. Veteran defenceman Ryan McNish is now on Riggers active roster following a trade with Toronto that saw the Roughnecks acquire the Rock’s first-round pick in the 2014 NLL Entry Draft in exchange for Rose and a conditional second-round selection in the 2014 NLL Entry Draft. Transition players Nolan Heavenor, Peter McFetridge, Curtis Manning and Geoff Snider are also back in the fold along with Mike Poulin in goal. New to this year’s squad is forward Shawn Evans, who the Roughnecks acquired from the Rochester Knighthawks in the offseason. Three of Calgary’s five picks from the 2011 NLL Entry Draft also earn spots on this year’s roster: transition player Travis Cornwall (first round, seventh overall), defenceman Greg Harnett (second round, 11th overall) and goalie Frankie Scigliano (second round, 18th overall).
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
- Scott Ranger needs to play four more games to reach 100.
- Curtis Dickson is eight points away from reaching the 100-plateau in just his second season in the NLL. Meanwhile, Nolan Heavenor is nine points away from reaching the same milestone.
- Kaleb Toth is four assists shy of 400. Toth also needs just seven more loose balls to reach 800.