CALGARY, AB – The Calgary Roughnecks have their backs against the wall once again.
They find themselves in a familiar scenario — playing in must-win game, just as they have been for most of the season.
“I like our group when our back is against the wall,” said transition player Geoff Snider. “We’ve got a lot of warriors and guys that are battle tested.”
In Game 1 of the West Division Final, the Roughnecks were not as crisp as they would’ve liked, falling 10-8 to the Edmonton Rush.
“We didn’t play the game that we needed to, to be successful in Game 1,” said Snider, who was dominate in the face-off circle again. “We will be ready in Game 2 and I like how we respond in these situations, so we will be prepared.”
The Riggers will look to iron out some mistakes as they return to Scotiabank Saddledome for Game Two.
“We’re going to have to be a lot better than we were last week,” said coach Curt Malawsky. “There are definitely some areas that we need to address. I thought the Rush were more hungry than we were. It showed in the loose ball stats. I thought fundamentally, we continued to turn the ball over more and that’s really uncharacteristic of our group. We’ve been pretty good at protecting the ball, but we gave it away a lot.”
The Rush entered Game 1 with a plan to stop the high-powered Roughnecks offence.
That plan was successful
The Rush held the Roughnecks to only eight goals, despite boasting offensive stars like Shawn Evans and Curtis Dickson.
“We just played our team defence,” said Rush coach Derek Keenan. “We did what we try to do every week. They have some highly skilled offensive players on both sides of the floor. You can’t have the mindset that you are going to focus in on one or two guys; you have to focus on the group. So, you have to play team defence. That’s what are plan was and will be going forward this weekend.”
On the other end of the floor, the Roughnecks did a great job defensively as well, but their job won’t get any easier.
The Rush will get forward Robert Church back in the line-up for Game Two. Church collected 92 points on the season, tied for 10th in the NLL.
“Once you add that dynamic factor in there, things change again,” Malawsky said. “We are going to have to elevate in the back, probably a lot more to be honest. I know our guys are ready for that challenge and we’re focused.’
The Roughnecks have been here before and know what it takes to get it done.
They will need to re-group and find some of that must-win magic that got them to the West Division Final.
“A lot of guys took this loss real personal,” Malawsky said. “We all know this group’s got it in them and we’ll be better next week. We’re going to have to be.”