CALGARY, AB — On a night when Dane Dobbie broke Kaleb Toth’s franchise record for career goals, the Calgary Roughnecks dropped a 10-9 decision on the road to the Buffalo Bandits.
The Riggers fought back from a two-goal deficit to tie the game at 10:48 of the fourth quarter on Tyler Digby’s third goal of the night before Dhane Smith scored the game-winning marker with 1:10 remaining in regulation.
“I thought we really could have pushed the pace a bit more,” said Calgary captain Mike Carnegie, who praised his teammates for fighting back on several occasions to make it a game. “I was very proud of the way we battled back from two-goals down at various points. That was exciting, but I think we’ve got to learn to be able to break out and to go on our runs and stop chasing teams and believe in what we’ve got here. As much as it was an exciting game, it’s still a loss and it still hurts.”
Smith made a great move and cut towards the Calgary net before beating goalie Frankie Scigliano with a shot to the top corner to help the Bandits win their home opener at First Niagra Center.
Smith paced the Bandits scoring attack with two goals and three assists on Saturday, while Buffalo goalie Anthony Cosmo stopped 41 of 50 shots that the ’Necks fired his way.
In addition to scoring the 274th and 275th goals of his National Lacrosse League career, Dobbie added five assists to lead all scorers with seven points.
“I got them early, but I couldn’t get any late to win the game for the team,” said Dobbie, who’s proud he set the record but disappointed as a result of the stinging setback. “It’s something that I can look at after I’m all done playing. Kaleb was a wonderful player and he taught me the ropes of the game, so to be with him up there with him it’s special. He taught me how to be a professional lacrosse player. I have nothing but respect for him.”
Calgary coach Curt Malawsky praised Dobbie’s consistent effort during his nine years with the ’Necks so far.
“To be in company with Kaleb for a guy like Dobes is just great,” said Malawsky. “It just shows his dedication to the sport. To be able to score some big goals like that and put the numbers up in a Roughneck jersey, we’re very proud of him. I’m sure Kaleb would be proud of him. They played together and they won together.”
Digby also had an assist to go with his hat trick, while Curtis Dickson scored twice. Jeff Shattler scored once and set up four others and rookie Wesley Berg notched his second NLL goal in his second game and chipped in with two assists.
“With a young team there’s going to be some growing pains and we’re going through them now,” said Malawsky. “We’ve just got to stay together and continue to work at it.”
Scigliano helped keep things close by making 33 saves, several of the spectacular variety.
“I think Frankie’s giving us really good minutes right now,” said Carnegie. “He’s playing extremely well. Defensively holding teams to 10 or under is always the goal and we’ve been doing that. It’s just a matter of getting a few more goals when we’ve got opportunities, especially in transition.”
Ryan Benesch had a goal and two assists for the Bandits, while Kevin Brownell, David Brock, Nick Weiss, Mitch Jones, Mitch Wilde and former Roughneck Daryl Veltman also scored.
After Brock gave the Bandits an early 1-0 lead, Dickson replied with a shorthanded tally at 7:12 of the first quarter. Smith answered right back for the Bandits 28 seconds later before Weiss put Buffalo up 3-1 at 9:27.
Dobbie then made history with a pair of goals 67 seconds apart late in the opening frame to tie things up at 3-3.
“That’s pretty special,” said Carnegie. “To have him playing the way he’s playing right now and to be able to play with him for the last five or six years has been pretty exciting.”
The two teams alternated goals in the second quarter as Shattler and Berg found the back of the net for the Riggers, while Veltman and Benesch did the damage for the Bandits.
Looking to take the lead on the power play early in the third quarter, the ’Necks instead surrendered a pair of shorthanded goals by Brownell and Jones nine seconds apart as the Bandits stole a 7-5 lead.
Parked at Cosmo’s doorstep, Digby shovelled a short-side shot past the Buffalo netminder to pull the Riggers within a goal at 10:24 of the third.
After Wilde scored 20 seconds into the fourth quarter, Digby counted his second of the game just over four minutes later. Benesch then put Buffalo back up by two before Dickson and Digby replied for Calgary to tie the game up at 9-9.
After Smith scored the eventual game winner, Cosmo secured the victory for the Bandits when he stopped a long-range shot by Dickson as time expired on the clock.
The ’Necks will play their second straight road game next Friday against the New England Black Wolves before they return home to face the Vancouver Stealth at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday, Jan. 30.
“If everyone’s five per cent better in the one-goal games, I think we end up on the right side of it,” said Malawsky. “We take the positives out of it and we just continue to build forward.”