Last year’s version of the Rochester Knighthawks proved what the Calgary Roughnecks are trying to accomplish this season.
Regular season accomplishments are all well and nice, but all that matters is getting hot at the right time.
The 2012 Knighthawks were one of three East Division teams to finish with a 7-9 record, but won three straight games in the playoffs to earn the NLL Champion’s Cup.
For Calgary, it starts now with a game on Saturday against the same Knighthawks team at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
“We just got to win,” said rookie Joe Resetarits. “We are in the most important part of the season. We want the home floor advantage so we know it’s going to be a tough game.
“The games are getting tougher and tougher until playoffs, but that’s expected.”
It’s a game that won’t necessarily mean a lot in the standings for the Roughnecks. They missed out on a chance to clinch home field advantage last weekend against the Washington Stealth. A win this weekend won’t clinch that home playoff date, just like a loss wouldn’t ruin a chance to start the post season in home territory either. The West Division standings won’t be decided until the following weekend when the Riggers take on the Edmonton Rush.
But it’s all about momentum in the NLL, and they want as much as possible right now.
“Every game is important for us,” Resetarits added. “We just got to focus on winning this weekend. It’s our last home game, we’d like to get a win going into Edmonton and we know what we got to do. We have to stay disciplined and when we do that, teams have a hard time beating us.”
It’ll be no easy feat to come up with a win against the Knighthawks. With a record of 6-7 and having won two of their last three games, Rochester is showing glimpses of their 2012 championship team.
“A lot of people are talking about their roster this year, but I don’t know how much worse their record is this year than it was last year and they ended up winning the Champion’s Cup,” said Travis Cornwall. “They have two games this weekend, that’s really big for them to even get into playoffs. I’m sure they are going to come in very focused.”
Head coach Curt Malawsky added, “We’re up against a very, very well-coached team and a world-class goaltender (in Matt Vinc). They don’t have a lot of holes out there and they work extremely hard. We’re going to have to come out and match that compete level. It’s going to be a true battle. We’re excited to play a team from the east. Hopefully it’ll be a great game on both ends of the floor for us.”
Game time is 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Tickets are still available.