Before Saturday’s opening faceoff, the Roughnecks let their emotions show.

During the national anthems, the players stood in a line with their arms around each other.

“It was a special night,” said Calgary captain Mike Carnegie after the Roughnecks beat the Georgia Swarm 18-11 in front of 9,780 fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome. “We had a pretty emotional room. All night was really emotional even before the game – in the huddles and during O Canada.”

Just the night before, the Riggers suffered a disappointing 18-9 setback to the Colorado Mammoth at Denver’s Pepsi Center. After linking arms before the anthems in Denver, they decided to switch it up a bit the next night back home in Calgary.

“It was sort of something we tried to bond more as a team and it’s paying off a bit,” said Carnegie. “We decided to band together as brothers and we’re going to ride the highs and lows and we’re going to do it together. It was just something small, but it’s a gesture to know we’re in it together.”

Defenceman Tyson Bell pointed out that it was coach Curt Malawsky’s idea to try something a bit different to unify the players.

“The one thing he stresses the most is sticking together,” said Bell, who scored his fifth goal of the season in the fourth quarter on Saturday. “We’re one big family and we all stick together through the hard times and we just get better, I think. From doing that, everyone had an open mind and decided to play a little better.”

Bell drew even more inspiration from hearing goalie Frank Scigliano singing the words to O Canada at the top of his lungs.

“Oh yeah, I heard him,” said Bell. “I was at the other end of the line, but I heard him singing, so that was good.”

Scigliano went on to stop 33 of 44 Swarm shots he faced to even his record at 4-4.

“We’ve really come together and I think wrapping arms with each other shows a sign of strength,” said Scigliano. “I’m always one to sing the Canadian national anthem. I’m a proud Canadian and it gets me in the zone.”

His teammates were also in a zone right from the start of the game as they built up leads of 7-2 through one quarter of play and 13-3 by the end of the first half.

“Honestly on my end, it’s a big breather,” said Scigliano. “I’m just able to focus on making that next save and when they’re putting goals in the net like that, we’re going to be successful.”

The Riggers will try to keep things going when they travel to Toronto to face the Rock on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre.

“You know what, I think we need to build on some of the things we did (against the Swarm),” said Scigliano. “Toronto’s a great team, so we’re going to have to study up on them. They did take two points away from us here a couple weeks ago (on Feb. 12 when the Rock beat the ’Necks 11-7 in Calgary), so that’s still in our memory for sure.”

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