It wasn’t a big, flashy blockbuster trade that brought Riley Loewen to Calgary.
But Loewen isn’t a flashy player.
He’s your typical, nose to the grindstone, give everything he’s got, take one for the team type of player.
“He’s going over the top and he’s going into the dirty areas and taking hits to make plays,” said Roughnecks coach Curt Malawsky.
That’s just how the Burnaby, BC, native wanted to play.
“I work to get my teammates open, doing the dirty work in the middle, and set picks,” Loewen said not long after he had been traded to Calgary. “I think that’s what I’m going to try and do in Calgary, getting (Dane) Dobbie and (Jeff) Shattler open.”
And while his aptitude for the off-ball game makes him valuable even when he doesn’t see his name on the scoresheet, Loewen has always shown an ability to find the back of the net.
Playing field lacrosse at Limestone College (Div. II), Loewen netted 184 goals throughout his four-year career. Even in his first year in the NLL, Loewen put up 17 goals with the Edmonton Rush. He hasn’t reached that level of scoring since 2014, but he’s at 12 goals so far in 2017 and is just six points shy of his career best 36 points he notched as a rookie.
Loewen was traded to the Roughnecks in the off-season and he was expected to get significant playing time as the third lefty behind stars Shattler and Dobbie.
Despite putting up points in his first four games as a member of the Riggers, he wasn’t feeling totally comfortable within the offence. However, as the season has gone on, he’s settled in with the group and has really started to shine.
“Getting traded to a new team, it’s always tough with the transition,” he said. “I think we’ve gelled on offence recently and that’s been our biggest success.”
Over their last four games, Calgary’s offence has averaged 13 goals and has received contributions from all of their forwards.
During that spell, they’ve seen the emergence of Loewen as a scoring threat.
He’s registered 14 points in his past four games, including his first hat-trick with the Roughnecks. With back-to-back four point outings, Loewen has added a nice dimension to the Calgary offence.
“I think I’ve been coming on here and helping out with that secondary scoring the last three or four games,” he said. “Just building chemistry with the guys and if you look at our team stats through this win streak, everyone is contributing and it’s nice to see.”
“It’s awesome. I’m always trying to contribute as much as I can on the score board. For it to finally payoff, it was nice.”
Loewen’s increase in scoring hasn’t come from some great change in the way he plays, but from something as simple as having a shooter’s mentality.
That’s what everyone’s telling him to do.
“Coaches are telling me to shoot more,” he said. “All the guys are, Dobbie, Shattler, they were telling me to shoot as much as I can and drive over top and try to get myself into a good position to shoot or draw a slide and move the ball.”