CALGARY, AB — The Calgary Roughnecks were on the road to open their playoff schedule, taking on John Grant Jr. and the Colorado Mammoth on Saturday. The playoff party started off with a bang as the Roughnecks upset the Colorado Mammoth 11-10 in overtime.
Here are five things we noticed in the game:
The bigger the game, the bigger Curtis Dickson plays. At times throughout Saturday’s game, the Roughnecks star forward single-handedly battled through multiple Mammoth defenders and muscled his way to a goal. He led the Riggers with five goals and 9 points in the win. His biggest goal came with just 24 seconds left in the game when he roofed a shot just over the right shoulder of Dillon Ward to tie the game and force overtime. That was the type of performance the Roughnecks were hoping to get out of their 61-goal scorer.
2) POULIN WALL
The re-emergence of Mike Poulin seemed to begin last season in the West Final when he relieved Frankie Scigliano in Game 2 and helped the Roughnecks mount a big comeback against the Saskatchewan Rush. Almost one year later, he was more than up to the task in an important playoff game. His poise and mental toughness were on full display against the Mammoth and he made some incredible saves to keep the Roughnecks in the game. The Poulin Wall took his game to the next level once overtime started, stopping all eight shots he faced by the potent Colorado offense. Overall, Poulin faced 66 shots and made 56 stops en route to his eighth career playoff victory.
3) THE GREAT DANE
Dane Dobbie returned to the Roughnecks line-up after sitting out in the regular season finale against the Toronto Rock due to an injury. In the Semi-Final, the diminutive lefty was very effective early, registering a goal and three assists in the first half of play. The second half was a different story as Dobbie was held off of the scoresheet entirely but found the back of the net when it mattered the most.
That was clutch!
4) ROUGH & TOUGH
Dobbie, Dickson, and Poulin are getting a lot of accolades for roles parts in the huge win. However, you can’t forget the outstanding play from the Roughnecks defenders – especially in overtime. They were playing the Mammoth forwards tight all game and not giving them many good looks. In fact, they forced plenty of long range shots from bad spots – although a couple of those happened to find the back of the net. John Grant Jr, a killer when it comes to overtime, was looking to be the one to end the game, but Roughnecks captain Mike Carnegie was all over the future Hall of Famer. The defence deserves full credit for their efforts this weekend and they will be looking for a similar performance against the Rush on Saturday.
5) CRUSH THE RUSH
With the Mammoth now extinct, the Roughnecks are moving on to the West Division Final to face their biggest rival, the Saskatchewan Rush. While the players enjoyed the win, their focus has already turned to the Rush and so has ours. Calgary owns an 0-4 record against Saskatchewan this season, although three of the four games have been decided by two or less goals. The biggest challenge this weekend will be finding a way to score against the league’s top defence. The Rush averaged only 10.5 goals against, almost a full goal lower than the next best team. The Riggers look forward to a packed house at the ‘Dome on Saturday and hope to deliver a big win!