CALGARY, AB — On Saturday, the Calgary Roughnecks are hosting the Vancouver Stealth at 7:00pm MT (Fox Sports Go). The Roughnecks dropped a close game to the West Division leading Saskatchewan Rush last weekend and are looking to get back in the win column.
Here are 5 things to watch for in the contest:
1) THE SHATTLER SHOW
In his 11th NLL season, Jeff Shattler has routinely been a great source of offence while snagging plenty of loose balls. Back in 2011, he was named the NLL’s Most Valuable Player and Transition Player of the Year. He has since moved to a strictly offensive role since then and his numbers have grown as a result. As it currently stands, Shattler is five points shy of reaching 600 career points and could very well reach that milestone in Saturday’s contest. In each game against Vancouver this season, he has scored five or more points, so it is well within reach. In addition, he is only seven loose balls shy of 1000 for his career.
2) GETTIN’ HEATED
I their two meetings this season, their have been quite a few goals and big hits. With playoffs implications for both clubs, it will not be a surprise if things get heated and sparks fly on the floor. In the opening game of the season series, the Stealth racked up 39 penalty minutes, while the Necks returned the favour with 31. In the last two games, Vancouver has amassed 70 penalty minutes to the Roughnecks 40. If tempers start to flare early, this game could get ugly fast and the special teams could play a big factor in the outcome.
3) CENTURY CLUB
Like Shattler, Curtis Dickson is on pace to set a couple of records on Saturday. No matter what happens, Dickson will set a games played milestone if he takes the floor. It will be his 100th career NLL game – I wonder what he will do to celebrate? Another through the legs goal perhaps?
Should Superman score just one goal, it will be the 250th of his career and it will also give him the Roughnecks single-season record for goals with 52. This is a milestone that is almost guaranteed to happen. Dickson has scored at least one goal in every game this season and only Dhane Smith of the Buffalo Bandits has found the back of the net more than Dickson this season.
4) WRONG DIRECTION
When every game matters, losing back to back games is never an ideal situation. For the Stealth, they’ve found out that losing six games in a row will plant you in the basement of the West Division. Luckily for them, the Roughnecks experienced a four game drought earlier this season and are in the midst of a two-game losing streak. One of these rivals will find themselves back in the win column Saturday. The Roughnecks know all too well that you can’t write off a team on a six-game losing streak after they opened the 2015 season that way and climbed back into the race, eventually claiming a spot in the playoffs.
5) RUN STOPPER
Goal runs have plagued the Roughnecks all season. On multiple occasions, teams have used big runs to put themselves out in front or back into games. The Rush used a seven-goal run earlier in the year to beat the Riggers 19-12. The last time Calgary and Vancouver played each other, the Stealth used an eight-goal run to take the lead 13-12, en-route to an overtime win. Finding a way to avoid any big runs could be key to the Roughnecks success. That being said, Calgary is also prone to scoring in bunches themselves which could be problematic for the Stealth.