CALGARY, AB — This weekend is the first instalment of the Rocky Mountain Rivalry in 2016. The Calgary Roughnecks host the Colorado Mammoth at the Rough House on February 13th at 7:00pm MT.
Here are 5 things to watch for in the contest:
1) BETWEEN THE PIPES
After a second straight slow start from Frankie Scigliano, Mike Poulin relieved the big man and provided a spark for the Roughnecks. The veteran netminder allowed only four goals on 28 shots to help the Riggers complete the comeback. Despite playing a big role in the win, Poulin acknowledged that the team was still Scigliano’s going forward. Heading into week seven of the NLL schedule, it’s tough to gauge which goaltender will get the call against the Mammoth. Poulin has played well in relieve the past two games, but Frankie has been a fantastic starter since he took over the reigns mid last season. It will be interesting to see how coach Curt Malawsky plays it, but it would not be shocking to if both goalies see the floor on Saturday.
Defences and goaltenders aren’t going to be happy about the recent surge from Roughnecks superstar, Curtis Dickson. The righty started the season slowly, scoring two goals in each of the first three contests. In the following three games, Superman has scored four goals in each game and has 18 points. If Dickson is starting to heat up, it’s time for opposing teams to watch out. The dynamic scorer can beat you from long range, with quick-stick goals, and by going airborne.
3) SAME PAGE
The Roughnecks defence started the season on a very high note, but the offence wasn’t clicking. The last few games, the defence was playing well, but getting burned more than they’d like while the offence was putting goals on the board in bunches. If the two can get on the same page, they will be hard to handle on either end of the floor. One of the biggest factors here is the ability to limit the number to trips that they make to the sin bin. When they go a man down, the defence gets worn down and the offence doesn’t get to see the floor much and could lose momentum. Getting a well-rounded effort from Calgary on Saturday will be huge in trying to defeat the Mammoth.
4) OVERTIME MADNESS
Over the past number of years, the Mammoth and Roughnecks have been extremely competitive and have seen a high percentage of their games come down to a single goal. In fact, since 2012, they of the 11 games that the two have played, they have gone to overtime in seven, yes seven games. OT hasn’t been kind to Calgary, as they have lost six of seven games that required the extra frame. A big reason for that record is Mammoth legend John Grant Jr. and former Roughneck Sean Pollock, who combined for five of the six OT goals by Colorado.
5) UNEXPECTED OFFENCE
Over the past couple of games, the Roughnecks have seen some big goals from defenceman. Jon Harnett, Greg Harnett, and Tyson Bell have been front and centre in trying to create some offence from the back-end. However, the biggest factor in defensive scoring for the Roughnecks has been Dan MacRae. Through six games, the defenceman has seven points (2g, 5a) and has routinely helped create scoring in crucial situations. His seven points ranks second in the NLL behind Chris Corbeil and Sheldon Burns who are tied at eight points each.