CALGARY — The rivalry between the Calgary Roughnecks and the Colorado Mammoth always provides plenty of great action, drama, and intensity.
Friday’s game should be no different.
Here are five things to keep in mind when you’re watching the game:
1) PLAYOFF INTENSITY
The last time the two teams met, the Roughnecks served the Mammoth an overtime loss in the playoffs. That defeat is likely still in the back of the players’ minds.
“The Calgary Roughnecks obviously pulled off the big win against them in the playoffs last year,” said rookie Chad Cummings. “So they’ll be working for some revenge, I guess that’ll still be in their hearts.”
Most games between the teams are feisty and physical, but this game will have more meaning for the home side. Those who were involved in last year’s epic playoff game will likely bring that mentality and motivation to Friday’s affair.
2) SPECIAL TEAMS
Having an extra-man or being down a man could be a major factor in Friday’s game.
Calgary leads the league in penalty minutes with 83, which is 26 more than the second-place team. If that trend continues for the Riggers, the talented Mammoth powerplay could give the home squad a distinct advantage in the game. Through three games, Colorado has converted eight of 14 powerplay opportunities. However, the Roughnecks have been very strong on the penalty kill, allowing only six goals on 17 chances.
Conversely, the Mammoth have been terrible on the penalty-kill so far this season, as they’ve allowed opponents to score on six of eight powerplays. While that’s not a great statistic, Colorado has given teams fewer than three powerplays per game. That means the Roughnecks powerplay unit will need to convert at a high rate given the few chances that they may receive.
3) WATCH OUT FOR GREER
In the off-season, Colorado made a blockbuster trade with the Saskatchewan Rush, trading star lefty Adam Jones to the Rush in exchange for fellow southpaw Zack Greer. Jones had perpetually been a pest for the Roughnecks over the years, so his departure was welcome.
Unfortunately, the Riggers are back to square one, as Greer has also been a scourge to the Roughnecks for a long time. In 2016, Greer suited up for four games against Calgary, where he scored 12 goals and five assists. So far in 2017, the lefty has four goals and nine assists in three games.
With Greer playing very well to start the year and his frequent thrashing of the Riggers defence, he is a player to watch on the Colorado offence.
4) DICKSON ON FIRE
While Greer is the name to watch on the Colorado side of the ball, Curtis Dickson is the man for the Riggers. After a performance in Game 1 that he called, ‘the worst game I’ve played as a Roughneck,’ Superman crushed the Stealth with six goals on the night.
In the playoffs last year, Dickson willed Calgary to the win over the Mammoth, recording nine points (5g, 4a), including the game-tying goal with 15 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
The seventh-year man will be looking for another big performance this weekend to help the Roughnecks secure a plus .500 record through three weeks for the first time since 2012.
5) MILESTONE ALERT
Once again, there is a huge milestone just ready to happen this weekend. Dane Dobbie sits just a goal away from becoming the 25th member of the 300-goal club. Should he score Friday, he will be the first Roughnecks players to complete the feat solely in Calgary garb.
Other Roughnecks players to reach the mark at some point during their careers are; Josh Sanderson (449), Lewis Ratcliff (440), Tracey Kelusky (383), Ted Dowling (335), Shawn Evans (330), and Kaleb Toth (315).
Some other milestones within reach Friday for the Roughnecks:
Tyler Digby is five goals short of 100 for his career.
Wesley Berg is five loose balls away from 100.
Riley Loewen is four loose balls away from 100.
Jeff Shattler is two powerplay goals shy of 50.
Curtis Dickson is four powerplay goals from 50.