CALGARY, AB — This weekend, the Calgary Roughnecks are in Langley, BC to face the Vancouver Stealth at the LEC on February 20th at 8:00pm MT. The last time the two teams faced off in this building, the Roughnecks punched their ticket to the 2015 playoffs.
Here are 5 things to watch for in the contest:
1) BIG FOUR
When facing the Vancouver Stealth, it’s hard to focus on any one offensive player as they are very balanced in their attack. On either side of the floor, the Stealth have two dangerous forwards who can score in a variety of ways. On the right side, they have stars Garrett Billings and Rhys Duch. The left side is run by Corey Small and Logan Schuss, who had a fantastic game the last time they played the Roughnecks. In fact, all four had strong performances and combined for 30 points in the loss. Calgary’s defence will need to stay strong on Saturday to contain Vancouver’s offence.
The Roughnecks and Stealth both have a chance to get back into the win column on Saturday night. The Roughnecks lost to the Colorado Mammoth last weekend, while the Stealth were edged 16-15 in overtime by the Rochester Knighthawks. While both teams played well in their games, they could not complete the game and lost. This weekend, each team has the opportunity to rebound from their performances and deliver a win.
3) HOME SWEET HOME?
Maybe not for Vancouver. To open the year, the Stealth have a 1-2 record at the LEC and are being outscored 38-29. In the top four in the NLL in home power play percentage and penalty kill, the Stealth are not being beaten through special teams – they are losing the battle in five-on-five play. With that being said, Vancouver will have their home fans on their side and they will be hungry for a win. The Roughnecks will have to be ready to play if they want to take down the Stealth on their own turf.
4) ROAD WARRIORS
Three of the last four games the Roughnecks have played have been at the friendly confines of the Rough House. However, it hasn’t been so friendly with regards to playing on the power play. They went four for 15 on the man advantage and decreased their season home PP% to 34.8 percent. Luckily, this weekend’s game is on the road, something that might spark their power play unit. In road games this season, the Riggers have managed to score on 10 of their 17 or 58.8 percent of their chances. If they can hit that level of production this weekend, they will stand a good chance of winning.
Both the Roughnecks and the Stealth have a negative goal differential this season, but it is quite interesting who that is demonstrated on a per-quarter basis. Vancouver does not have a positive quarter, but is even in the first and fourth quarters. Their middle frames are what does them in, being outscored by 11 goals. On Calgary’s end of things, they are plus-two in the first quarter, but have a hard time in the second, being outscored by 11 goals. The second half starts well for the Necks as they are plus-three, but they fall off again in the fourth quarter, being out done by five goals. This is a concerning trend for the Roughnecks and they will be looking to sustain pressure to the final whistle against the Stealth.