CALGARY, AB — Last season saw a changing of the guard between the pipes for the Calgary Roughnecks.
When long-time Riggers netminder and former NLL goaltender of the year, Mike Poulin, didn’t get off to the start he hoped for, posting a 1-5 record and a 12.88 GAA, Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky turned to 23-year-old Frankie Scigliano.
Scigliano took the ball and ran with it. While he managed a modest 6-6 record with an 11.12 GAA, he routinely made big saves that kept the Roughnecks in contests and eventually turned their season around just in time to qualify for the post-season for the 13th straight year.
However, while it looked as though Frankie had cemented himself as the starter, the waters were muddied when he had a poor start in Game 2 of the Western Final.
Entering 2016, Malawsky is not willing to name a number one.
“The two guys play so well together. I think we’re better having both of those guys playing,” admitted Malawsky. “If one guy is off one night, the other one can step up and he’s on. Right now I’m not going to say who’s starting and who’s not.”
Both Scigliano and Poulin, aren’t making any assumptions and are ready to compete for the number one spot.
“You have to earn your spot out there,” Scigliano said. “I’m here in camp and I’m trying to earn that number one position. Whatever happens, happens but I’m going to give it my all out here.”
“We’re both very supportive of each other. Our goal is to make it very hard on our coaching staff making decision of who they’re going with,” said Poulin. I’m sure we both want to play, that’s the competitive nature of any athlete. It’s one of those things and we’re very supportive of each other.”
Even with the goalie situation seemingly settled, the Roughnecks made an investment to defend the net in the recent NLL Draft.
Calgary selected two goalies in the 2015 NLL Draft — 18-year old Christian Del Bianco and Calgary’s own Jordan Kancsal.
Kancsal was the most outstanding goalie in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League splitting time with the Okotoks Raiders and Calgary Mountaineers.
Del Bianco dominated the BCLA, recording a 10-0 with a 5.91 GAA. He later helped lead Team Canada to a gold medal at the 2015 U-19 World Lacrosse Challenge.
“We have four good one’s here,” said Malawsky of his goalies. “Christian Del Bianco is a great goaltender from Coquitlam Jr. A and Jordan Kancsal is a good Alberta boy. He’s coming in to see where he sits. The goalies are going to get equal time in the exhibition games and we’ll make an educated decision. There will be a lot of things to take into consideration. Right now, the goalies are just battling hard.”
After three days with the younger goaltenders, the veteran netminders we’re impressed.
“I didn’t know what to expect, both of these guys are western guys,” admitted Poulin, who lives in the East. “They are both really active goalies. They’re young and energetic. It’s great to have that here and to try and match that energy. It’s great to see them playing so well right away.”
For Frankie, the situation involving Del Bianco was quite familiar.
“It reminds me a lot of myself,” Scigliano said. “A few years ago, I was the 18-year old coming into camp. So whatever I can do to help those guys, I will do that going forward.”
Del Bianco sees the similarities as well.
And he’s happy to have a friend like Scigliano to lean on and learn from.
“Having a guy like Frankie around, it helps out because he went through a similar process,” explained Del Bianco.
“I know Frankie from back home, but just meeting Poulin. They’re both really laid back guys and I’m just sitting back and absorbing as much as I can from them.”