CALGARY, AB — The Calgary Roughnecks will play two games on the road this weekend. They’ll face the Georgia Swarm at the Infinite Energy Arena on March 25th at 5:35pm MT, before heading to the Pepsi Centre to face the Colorado Mammoth on March 26th at 7:00pm MT.
It will be a big weekend for the Roughnecks as they look to win three in a row and stay in the playoff race.
Here are 5 things to watch for in the contest:
1) COAST TO COAST
In the past two weeks, the Roughnecks have started to run the floor more than usual. Calgary coach Curt Malawskywanted to push transition more and the transition/defensive players responded by providing eight goals in their last two games. Led by 2015 Transition Player of the Year nominee Karsen Leung, who has four goals in two games, the unit has been on fire. Rookie Tyson Bell added two goals against the Toronto Rock, while Curtis Manning and Tyler Burton each added a goal against the Mammoth. Expect the Roughnecks to keep on running this weekend.
2) ROOKIE MADNESS
It was a surprise to many when the Roughnecks elected to keep four rookies on the active roster to start the year. Yet, over in Georgia, it was not a surprise that they opened the season with five rookies. Freshmen Swarm Lyle Thompson, Randy Staats, Jesse King, and Chad Tutton are expected to play and should have an impact on the game both offensively and defensively. For Calgary, Wesley Berg, Reilly O’Connor, and Bell are likely to be in the line-up. There will be an abundance of youth on the floor with at least seven rookies, and six of the first seven selections from the 2015 NLL Draft. Expect to see many goals and big plays coming from the rookies on Friday.
3) JET LAG
Playing in one lacrosse game in a weekend is tough. Playing in two is tougher. Add in flights to Georgia and Colorado and you have a rough weekend. That’s what the Roughnecks have in front of them this weekend. They are going to be thankful for the depth that they have on this team. With two goaltenders who could start on any given night, Malawsky could run with either. Tyler Melnyk and Brandon Goodwin represent offensive options should a forward get hurt or need a night off. Goodwin, along with Kellen LeClair, Garrett McIntosh, and Patrick O’Meara, could all substitute into the line-up in a defensive or transition role should they be called upon. This depth provides the Riggers with a lot of options this weekend to help keep everyone fresh,
4) JONESY – AGAIN
Last weekend, the Roughnecks managed to shut down Mammoth star lefty Adam Jones, ending his NLL record 56-game scoring streak. After the game, Malawsky joked that he pities the team that Jones plays next. Coincidentally, that team is the Roughnecks. Shutting Jones down once was tough, but doing it two weekends in a row will be very difficult. This will be a match-up to watch because if Jones finds his scoring touch and gets hot, it won’t take long for him to put up some crooked numbers. The Roughnecks defence will have some very tough assignments this weekend, but none more so than Jones.
5) THE BEHEMOTH
Calgary’s right side revolves around Curtis Dickson, but Tyler Digby is an essential piece of the puzzle. The big man has a blistering shot, he can take on multiple defenders, and he has soft hands in front of the net. That combination of skills was in sync the last time the Roughnecks played the Swarm, a game where Digby scored five goals. With only two goals in his last three games, look for the behemoth to have a strong game against one of the league’s weaker defences in Georgia.