One team is looking to extend a winning streak and one trying to end a losing skid.
With playoffs on their minds, Saturday will be an important affair between the Roughnecks and the Buffalo Bandits.
Here are five things to keep in mind for tomorrow night’s game:
1) THREE IN A ROW?
For just the second time this season, Calgary has a chance to win their third game in a row.
After beating the New England Black Wolves 18-13 on March 25, the Roughnecks followed that up with an 11-9 win over the Rochester Knighthawks on April 1. Now the target is the Bandits, their third straight East Division opponent.
With momentum in hand and a confidence in their game, earning a third victory will be massive for the Riggers as they eye the final playoff spot in the West.
2) SPECIAL TEAMS
Staying out of the penalty box is key in any game, but it’s especially important when your opponent is scoring on over 61% of their powerplay chances.
The league’s top powerplay unit has only had 54 chances so far this season, that’s tied for lowest in the NLL. That doesn’t mean they haven’t taken advantage of those opportunities, as they’ve scored 33 goals with the extra man.
Being the second-most penalized team in the league, Calgary will need to remain disciplined in the contest. Last weekend they were able to do that, getting called on just two penalties against the Knighthawks.
3) SLOWING SMITH
Let’s be honest, the Bandits offence isn’t just Dhane Smith, but he’s a big part of it. Since returning from an injury that sidelined him for a pair of games to start the season, Smith has averaged more than five points per game.
Add in a healthy Ryan Benesch, a breakout star in Mitch Jones, and veterans Pat Saunders and Mark Steenhuis and you have a formidable group. Worth mentioning, even with multiple injuries to top scorers, they still average 12.85 goals per game.
That being said, the Roughnecks defenders have their work cut out for them on Saturday.
4) DRAW GAME
Between Tyler Burton, Bob Snider and Mitch Wilde, the Roughnecks have won faceoffs 51.1% of the time, which ranks third in the NLL behind only the Colorado Mammoth and New England Black Wolves.
In Buffalo, Tim Edwards is the man taking most of the draws now that Wilde is in Calgary. He’s done an admirable job, but the Bandits are winning just 48% off their faceoffs.
This presents an opportunity for the Riggers to earn a few extra key possessions during the course of the game which could come in handy during a run of goals or in a big situation where having the ball is a necessity.
This will be a match-up the Roughnecks will want to take advantage of on Saturday night.
5) KING OF THE TURF
At halftime, one lucky fan will be driving away with a brand new 2017 RAM 1500, courtesy of Dream Ride Alberta!
Want a chance to win? Two lucky people at the game will be selected to join the halftime contest. All you need to do is find the Dodge Squad on the concourse to enter for a chance to win.