CALGARY, AB — This weekend, the Calgary Roughnecks are back in the Rough House to face the Toronto Rock on April 30th at 7:00pm MT. The Roughnecks are coming off of a bye week.
Here are 5 things to watch for in the contest:
1) VANCOUVER STEALTH
Western rival and lone competition for the final playoff spot, the Stealth are playing a back-to-back beginning in Colorado. On Friday, they will face off against the Mammoth in Denver. The following night, Vancouver will enter the Hive and go toe-to-toe with the Georgia Swarm, who are fighting for a playoff spot as well. Should the Stealth lose either game, they will be eliminated from playoff contention.
While a Stealth loss could propel the Roughnecks into the playoffs, there is no guarantee that will happen. Therefore, Calgary should be focused on defeating the lowly Toronto Rock on Saturday and controlling their own destiny. If the Roughnecks come out of Saturday owning the third and final playoff spot in the West, it will be the 14th straight season that the Riggers have found themselves in the postseason.
3) SUPERMAN RETURNS
On a couple occasions this season, Curtis Dickson has left the lacrosse in awe. One of those times was when he bounced a shot through his legs and beat Nick Rose top cheese.
In his first game against the Rock, Superman scored a sock-trick and added an assist. Sitting at 57 goals on the season, if Dickson can continue at his current pace, he will finish with 60 goals. That would represent the only time a Roughnecks player has ever scored 60 or more goals in a season. Keeping an eye on number 17 is never a bad idea.
4) Mr. 300
On the topic of milestones, long-time Roughnecks lefty Dane Dobbie is fast approaching a big one. Already the Roughnecks all-time leading goal scorer, Dobbie is only four goals shy of scoring his 300th career goal. He would be the first Rigger to hit that mark and the 26th player in NLL history to register so many goals. Watch out for the exciting lefty, who will be fired up to get a win on Fan Appreciation Night.
5) TRANSITION OFFENCE
The last time the Necks faced the Rock, five goals were scored in transition by two players: Karsen Leung and Tyson Bell. That trend has continued with six goals in the past two games being scored by defencemen. Now a big part of the Roughnecks system, expect an aggressive transition game by Calgary. While having defenders push the pace is one way to work transition, the other is long outlet passes – something Mike Poulin has done very well since taking over the crease. Against the Rock, he sailed one perfectly to Dickson, who scored a nifty goal. If the Roughnecks can catch Toronto’s defence napping, look for them to try and take advantage with some long bombs.