CALGARY, AB — The Calgary Roughnecks have back-to-back games this weekend. First, they are in Saskatoon to battle the Rush on Friday. They return to Scotiabank Saddledome to face the Georgia Swarm on Saturday.
Here are 5 things to watch for in the contests:
1) MISSING OUT
Through four games of the NLL season, Reilly O’Connor has not been able to find the back of the net. In the last two games, Kellen LeClair and Tyson Bell — two other Roughnecks rookies — netted their first goals. Now the lone rookie on the squad without a goal, there is no doubt that O’Connor will be looking to rattle the twine this weekend. No pressure, kid.
2) ROSTER MOVES
With games on back-to-back days, it is likely that the Roughnecks will make some roster moves to get some fresh legs into the line-up this weekend. With Peter McFetridge and Brandon Goodwin both fresh and on the active roster, they are likely candidates to play in one or both games this weekend. In addition, if Calgary feels the need to improve their face-off game, they can call upon Bobby Snider from the practice squad. They also have veteran lefty Tyler Melnyk and rookie Patrick O’Meara ready to go, if necessary.
3) TRANSITION GAME
As seen in their first meeting, the Rush utilized their transition to spark the come back in that game. Saskatchewan even iced the game with a transition goal by Adrian Sorichetti.
The Roughnecks have been working on getting their transition game going and they saw some success against the Vancouver Stealth. They received goals from defencemen Tyson Bell, Jon Harnett, and Greg Harnett in the contest. If the Riggers defence can continue to contribute while limiting their opponent’s opportunities in transition, it will significantly help their chances of winning.
4) POLAR OPPOSITES
In one game, Calgary needs to be ready for a veteran offence and defence that has a great working knowledge of the Roughnecks. In the other, they face a team built on rookies and younger players that has rarely faced the Calgary squad.
The Rush are a very disciplined squad and sit second last in the NLL being short-handed only 15 times. Meanwhile, the Swarm have made the trip to the box quite a few times. They happen to lead the league with 28 times short-handed.
While offences are explosive and each team has had outstanding goaltending, they are vastly different teams and the Roughnecks will need to be prepared for both the savvy veterans and the run and gun rookies.
5) WINNING STREAK
Should the Roughnecks win Friday’s game against the Rush, they will have their first three-game winning streak of the season. In fact, that would be their first three-game win streak since 2014, when they won four from March 21-April 5. Given that the Roughnecks went all of 2015 without a three-game win streak, they will on the prowl for their first of 2016. With two games this weekend, if they win the first game, they will have a shot at a four-game streak.