CALGARY, AB — The Calgary Roughnecks were on the road again for Week 3 of the NLL season to take on Shawn Evans and the New England Black Wolves. The Roughnecks built a 9-5 lead heading into the fourth quarter and despite not scoring a goal in the final frame, held on for the 9-8 win.
Here are five things we noticed in the game:
1) SHUT DOWN
As Roughnecks fans know, it’s a tough task to shut down Evans offensively. In 2015, the righty forward managed to score at least four points in every game — while scoring 10 or more points on four occasions. On Friday, Calgary’s defence was ready for the challenge. The former Roughneck managed to score the Black Wolves first goal of the game, but would not be allowed to find the scoresheet after that. The Roughnecks defence and goaltending shut Evans down during the remainder of the contest and limited him to that single point. After a six-point night in his Black Wolves debut, Evans was hardly a factor against Calgary’s stingy defence.
2) FIRST ONE
Minutes after falling behind 3-2, Roughnecks rookie defenceman Kellen LeClair soaked a shot, scooped up the loose ball, and scurried down the floor where he scored his first NLL goal. Not known for his offensive prowess, the 6’3” rookie showed a nice scoring touch as he bounced one low on the glove side.
Congratulations Kellen! Hopefully there will be many more!
3) STELLAR SCIGLIANO
Last season saw the Roughnecks struggle between the pipes early in the season. This year, Frankie Scigliano has proven to be their man. The fifth-year goalie has been a revelation for Calgary as a starter this season, holding a 9.35 goals against average and a .785 save percentage. His 1-2 record is not nearly indicative of how well he has been playing in 2016. The big man is fourth among starters in GAA and save percentage, ahead of stars such as Aaron Bold, Anthony Cosmo, and Dillon Ward. Given how Scigliano ended his 2015 campaign, he has surely taken his game to the next level.
4) CHASING LOOSIES
When Calgary drafted Wesley Berg fourth overall in the 2015 NLL Draft, they did so because of his extremely high offensive potential. And while the 22-year old has been an offensive weapon for the Roughnecks, he has been valuable in other ways. The 6’1” righty leads the team with 20 loose balls after picking up five against the Black Wolves. The last person not named Snider to lead the team in this category was forward Jeff Shattler, in 2010. It’s still early, but Berg is proving that he can be an asset offensively without necessarily finding the back of the net.
Last season, Calgary led the league in penalty killing with a fantastic 64.36 percent rate. That percentage, while positive, masked a bigger issue. The Roughnecks were short-handed 101 times, or 5.6 times per game. That led to 36 power play goals scored against, placing them in the middle of the pack. Having such a high number of penalties to kill limits the effectiveness of a strong penalty kill. Simply put, the more you play short-handed, the more goals they’re going to score against you.
In 2016, they’ve shown an improvement in this area, only being penalized four times per game, on average. Extrapolated, that means the Roughnecks would be short-handed only 72 times throughout the season. And furthermore — based on their current 66.67 PK percentage – that would mean the Roughnecks only surrender 24 power play goals — 12 fewer goals against.