ROUGHNECKS (12-6) vs. MAMMOTH (8-10)
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Season series: To say this is an even match-up is an understatement. The Calgary Roughnecks and Colorado Mammoth have squared off three times this season. The Roughnecks prevailed 13-11 in their home opener on Jan. 10 while Colorado took the last two meetings, a 14-13 overtime win on Jan, 25 and another overtime triumph, 10-9, on Mar. 8. Each team scored 33 goals in the three contests.
Big Story: The Roughnecks and Mammoth meet in the West Division semi-final playoff match. The loser is eliminated from the race for the Champions Cup and the winner will move on to the West Division final, a two-game series against the Edmonton Rush, who earned a first round bye.
Roughnecks: Calgary is coming into the contest as one of the hottest teams in the NLL. The Roughnecks won six of their final seven regular season games including a thrilling 14-13 overtime win over the Edmonton Rush, who only suffered two setbacks this season—to Calgary and Colorado. Most recently they handed the Vancouver Stealth a convincing 14-8 loss in Langley, B.C. on Apr. 26.
“We had some good runs, a couple of four-game winning streaks and we also bounced from a loss to a win and a loss to a win but we finished the season really strong,” Riggers coach Curt Malawasky said. “I thought we got better as the year went on, which every coach wants to see going into the playoffs.”
The Roughnecks really found their stride during a challenging two-game road swing through Philadelphia and Buffalo at the beginning of April, when they earned victorious in both games.
“We’re firing on all cylinders and our guys are pumped to get going,” Malawsky continued. “We finished off strong against Vancouver and we had a real tough road trip near the near of the year our East which brought our group together tighter than they already were.”
The Riggers boast two of the top three goal scorers in the league with Curtis Dickson and Dane Dobbie, who tallied 44 and 51 goals respectively. Dobbie, who scored a hat-trick in the final game of the season, established a new single season franchise record for goals.
“I really believe that Dane Dobbie has the old school mentality and the old school mindset; you’ve got to go to the dirty areas to score goals,” Malawsly said of his left-handed sniper. “He’s not a perimeter guy, he won’t stand on the outside, he wants to get to the middle of the floor—with that being said, he does have a deadly outside shot.
“He earns his goals, he’s not just on the side getting a lot of easy quicksticks, and he’s banging through the middle and competing in the two-man game. His slides are coming hard and he’s willing to take a hit to make a play.
“That’s one of the big things as to why he put up the numbers that he did. The other thing is there is pure goal scorers and there’s goals scorers– I think Dane Dobbie is a pure goal scorer. He’s got that patience around the net and the inept ability to weight the goalie out. To me, that’s what separates a pure goal scorer from a goal scorer and I think that Dane Dobbie is in the upper echelon when it comes to that.”
Mammoth: Colorado has had an interesting season to say the least.
After a slow start, the Mammoth let go of their entire coaching staff and replaced them with former NLL standouts Dan Stroup, Chris Gill and Pat Coyle, with just seven games remaining in the regular season. The new regime had very little time to turn things around but it seems that they have done just that, in short order.
The Mammoth are riding a three-game win streak which started on Apr. 11, when they became the first team in the NLL to hand the Edmonton Rush their first loss of the season, a 10-8 come-from-behind home win.
“It’s exciting for the fellows to have a change halfway through the season and but into the systems that we brought in,” Mammoth co-coach Chris Gill indicated. “It’s not an easy thing to do and we’ve talked about that before—they’ve accepted the challenge. I think we’re flying on all cylinders and ready to take it into Calgary and see what happens–they are a really strong team all over the place for goaltending all the way through the coaching staff.
“We know they’re going to be focussed for us. We’re going to be ready and it’s all about us and what we do and try to do all of our things correct and let the chips fall where they may.”