CALGARY, AB — Despite both teams being in the NLL for over a decade, the Calgary Roughnecks and Philadelphia Wings have a short history together – only four times have they ever matched up, and none in almost two years.
Geoff Snider returns to Philadelphia for the first time since being dealt to Calgary in August of 2010
Since that game on March 5th, 2011, a 13-7 Calgary win, Philly has named a new head coach in Johnny Mouradian, new stars of the franchise in Brodie Merrill and Paul Rabil and 2011 top draft choice Kevin Crowley. Only Drew Westervelt remains as a goal scorer from their last matchup on their lineup.
“We’ve had our eastern scouts at the games and we are going to sit down as a team on Saturday night and get a good look at them and see what they got going on,” said Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky.
While the Roughnecks may not have played Philly as a whole, they do have experience with some of the key players. Merrill was a star in the West Division for six seasons between the Edmonton Rush and Portland LumberJax. Rabil was apart of the Washington Stealth. Kevin Ross and Kevin Croswell were together on the Minnesota Swarm. And goaltender Brandon Miller played with the Roughnecks head coach as a member of the San Jose Stealth in 2005.
“He’s a phenomenal competitor and even better goaltender,” said Malawsky about Miller. “He’s the backbone of the club and for the most part, it’ll be a challenge for us to get to him.”
This year Miller owns the top Goals Against Average in the NLL with 7.50 and wins with two, as well as second in saves at 96.
Philly experienced another off-season of roster turnover, sending out the Dawson Brothers, Dan and Paul, in a blockbuster trade during training camp to acquire Rabil. Pundits said they did not expect much out of the roster this year, but they’ve been one of the surprises early on with a 2-0 record after victories against Buffalo and Toronto.
“It’s nice to play a team that we haven’t played very much,” said captain Andrew McBride. “It feels like we play Edmonton every week or Colorado every week so to get some fresh blood and new energy, it’ll be fun.”
The Wings play a unique style that brings in more aspects of the American field lacrosse, something the Roughnecks must prepare for.
“They’re good, they are very athletic and they have a lot of American guys that are very unconventional,” McBride added. “We really have to be aware of different things. It’s not going to be the typical two man game on offence, they are going to have a lot of transition, they have some big bodies out over there. We are going to have to match their excitement.”
Sunday will also mark the first time Geoff Snider returns to the city he called home for four seasons as a member of the wings before coming over in a trade in 2010. During those years, he amassed 58 goals, 99 assists, 157 points, and 889 loose balls.
The Sunday afternoon matinee will be the second game of the weekend for both squads, with Calgary coming off a 19-12 against Colorado on Friday night, while the Wings take on the Buffalo in a rematch on Saturday.
“They have to play the night before so there won’t be any excuse for being tired and it’s going to be a real good test for us,” McBride concluded.
Game time is 2 p.m. MT and fans can watch live on the Roughnecks website while chatting with fellow Roughnecks fans.