LANGLEY, BC — Curtis Dickson wasn’t pleased with his performance when the Calgary Roughnecks opened their NLL season with a 12-11 setback to the Vancouver Stealth at home on Jan. 6.
Motivated to bounce back with a better effort, Dickson notched a sock trick (six goals) and added an assist to lead the Roughnecks to a 14-10 win over the Stealth at the Langley Events Center on Saturday.
“You never want to put up a stinker in back-to-back weeks, but I think more importantly getting a win was the biggest thing,” said Dickson. “It’s a funny game, lacrosse. Sometimes the shots are dropping, sometimes they’re not. I think I had a lot better looks this week. Obviously that’s a lot to do with my teammates getting me open and fining the opportunities.
“It’s probably the best game we’ve played in a couple years as a unit. We’ve got to keep that up in the coming weeks if we want to get some wins in the win column here.”
Calgary coach Curt Malawsky didn’t hesitate to give Dickson the game ball following his seven-point performance.
“It just shows the character that he has,” said Malawsky. “He takes it on his shoulders when our team doesn’t win. He’s a goal scorer and he knows that it’s his job to score goals. It’s a testament to Curtis how he prepared himself this week.”
Jeff Shattler and Tyler Digby had two goals and three assists each, while Riley Loewen netted his first two goals for the Roughnecks (1-1) since being acquired from the Saskatchewan Rush in September for a second-round draft pick in the 2017 NLL Draft.
Dane Dobbie, who scored once and set up three others, needs to find the back of the net just once more to become the 25th player in NLL history to reach the 300-goal plateau.
Tyson Bell also scored for Calgary, while Wesley Berg chipped in with four helpers.
“I thought today we played more by committee and I think everyone got involved,” said Malawsky. “They all looked pretty tough to stop as everybody’s contributing up front with seven offensive guys. Kudos to the O-guys who were doing their job and getting dirty, getting to the middle of the floor and taking hits to make plays.”
Saturday’s game also marked the return of starting goaltender Frank Scigliano as well as defencemen Greg Harnett and Garrett McIntosh after they all served one-game suspensions during Week 1.
Scigliano stopped 30 of 40 shots he faced, while Harnett and McIntosh helped solidify Calgary defensive corps. Harnett also helped out offensively with two assists.
Corey Small had four goals, including one on a penalty shot in the fourth quarter, for the Stealth (2-1), which dropped its home opener a week after spoiling Calgary’s season debut at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Small actually had back-to-back penalty shots in the final frame. He scored on the first one before Scigliano stopped him on the second.
Rhys Duch had two goals and five assists for Vancouver, while Logan Schuss, Keegan Bal, Joel McCready and Jordan Durston also scored.
Tyler Richards started in net for the Stealth, but was pulled in the second quarter after allowing eight goals on 17 shots. Tye Belanger then made 21 saves in a relief performance.
Next up, the Riggers will travel to Denver next Friday to face the Colorado Mammoth at the Pepsi Center before the two teams return to Calgary for a rematch at the Saddledome on Jan. 28.
“We know the importance of the start of the season,” said Malawsky. “We split the first series and we get onto the next season series. It’s going to be a tough challenge down there, but at least we’re going there at .500.”
Although Small opened the scoring for the Stealth on Saturday, the Riggers bounced back with three straight goals by Loewen, Dickson and Shattler.
The Stealth then scored two of the next three goals before Dickson and Digby found the back of the net behind Richards to give the ’Necks a 6-3 lead after one quarter of play.
“We were moving the ball great,” said Dickson. “That was the biggest key. We were getting the goalie moving and their defence kind of distorted, so we were finding openings.”
The Riggers outscored the Stealth 3-1 in the second and 4-1 in the third to take a 13-6 lead into the final frame.
Vancouver rallied with four goals in the fourth to pull within four goals, but Dickson completed his sock trick and the Calgary defence buckled down to preserve the victory for the visitors.
“Not only did (Dickson) get a handful of goals, but he scored some big ones, especially the one in the fourth quarter when they were coming back,” said Malawsky.