CALGARY, AB — It’ll be a busy weekend for the Calgary Roughnecks.
The Roughnecks will play two games on back-to-back days. They start on the road against the Saskatchewan Rush on Friday, and play again on Saturday at Scotiabank Saddledome against the Georgia Swarm.
The Rush will host the Roughnecks one week after defeating the West Division leading Colorado Mammoth 12-10 at Sasktel Centre.
The game will represent Calgary’s first ever in Saskatoon; however, it will be the Roughnecks’ second game versus the Rush since the team relocated from Edmonton. The Roughnecks hosted the Rush at the Rough House in their home opener that saw Saskatchewan beat Calgary 10-8.
Two straight losses to start the year didn’t look promising for the Roughnecks, but they’ve won two games in a row to even their record and have been playing good lacrosse all season.
In their last game, Calgary’s offence stepped up and contributed 12 of the teams’ 15 goals, helping the team reach the 10-goal plateau for the first time in 2016.
The Roughnecks held the Rush offence in check in the home opener, but could not get their own offence off of the ground. If they can bring some of the success from last weekend into this game, the Rush defence will be in for a difficult challenge.
Calgary’s defence will be in tough once again as they face a powerful offence that is anchored by Rush superstar Mark Matthews.
This contest will undoubtedly be a tough-fought battle from the initial ball drop to the final buzzer.
That could be a problem for the Rouchnecks as they travel back to the Saddledome to play against an athletic, young Swarm team the very next day.
Calgary will have a good amount of depth on their roster, which can help in situations such as this.
“We’ve got a deep roster,” Roughnecks coach Curt Malawsky said. “We’ve got some guys on the practice roster that are going to be up on the roster at some point. That’s a big thing, we’ve got some depth this year.”
Saturday’s game marks the first time Calgary will play against the newly minted Georgia club, after the team moved from Minnesota in the off-season.
All-time, Calgary holds an 11-6 record against the Swarm and hasn’t lost to them since March 2013.
But this is a very different Swarm team.
Georgia played back-to-back games last weekend and they showed that they mean business, sweeping the games against the Toronto Rock and Rochester Knighthawks.
Throughout the weekend, their offence put on a clinic in scoring 33 goals in two games.
A third of those goals came from top rookies Lyle Thompson (3), Jesse King (2), Randy Staats (5), and Chad Tutton (1).
That is evidence of another tough match-up for the Roughnecks defence. Calgary’s back-end has been very strong early on and they will look to bring more of the same to this game.
“I think we need to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” defenceman Tyson Bell said. “It starts from the defensive end.”