RUSH INTO TOWN: A new city, a new province, but the Rush are essentially the same team. The reigning NLL champions are coming to Calgary for the first time since last season’s West Final. In Game 2 of the West Final, the Roughnecks defeated the Rush 12-9 to force a mini-game at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary came out firing and took a 1-0 lead in the mini-game but Edmonton scored four straight to win the tie-breaker. Tonight a new-look Roughnecks roster will take the floor for the first of four regular season meetings against Saskatchewan.
STATS COMPARISON: 2015 REGULAR SEASON
Category Roughnecks Rush
Home Record 4-5 6-3
Away Record 3-6 7-2
Goals For 212 241
Goals Against 217 177
Power Play Pct. 55.29 46.60
Penalty Kill Pct. 64.36 62.67
Faceoffs Won-Taken 302-495 (61.0%) 253-490 (51.6%)
Loose Balls 1,066 1,186
Points Leader – Series Shawn Evans (24) Mark Matthews (24)
Points Leader – Season Shawn Evans (130) Mark Matthews (115)
ALL-TIME REGULAR SEASON SERIES: VS. RUSH
Date At Result Date At Result
Jan. 13/06 CGY 11-9 W Feb. 18/12 CGY 12-8 W
Jan. 21/06 EDM 12-9 W Mar. 9/12 EDM 13-10 W
Feb. 17/06 CGY 12-11 L Mar. 10/12 CGY 16-9 W
Mar. 17/06 EDM 16-9 W Apr. 21/12 EDM 9-6 W
Jan. 13/07 EDM 13-12 W Feb. 2/13 EDM 18-15 W
Apr. 6/07 CGY 13-12 L Feb. 9/13 CGY 9-8 W
Apr. 14/07 EDM 17-11 W Mar. 2/13 CGY 18-13 L
Apr. 5/08 EDM 11-9 L Apr. 20/13 EDM 12-11 OTW
Apr. 12/08 CGY 18-7 W Jan. 17/14 EDM 15-8 L
Apr. 26/08 EDM 12-8 W Mar. 14/14 CGY 15-7 L
Jan. 10/09 CGY 10-9 OTW Apr. 12/14 CGY 15-11 L
Mar. 13/09 EDM 22-10 W Apr. 26/14 EDM 14-13 OTW
Apr. 11/09 EDM 14-13 W Jan. 24/15 CGY 16-8 L
Jan. 30/10 EDM 14-11 L Mar. 8/15 EDM 12-11 OTW
Feb. 5/10 CGY 13-8 W Apr. 10/15 CGY 9-8 W
Apr. 16/10 EDM 15-14 OTW Apr. 11/15 EDM 11-9 L
Jan. 28/11 EDM 15-11 W
Jan. 29/11 CGY 12-11 OTW
Feb. 20/11 EDM 12-11 W
Mar. 19/11 CGY 19-14 W
Regular Season Records
All-Time in CGY: 10-6
All-Time in EDM: 16-4
Last CGY Win: Apr. 10/15, 9-8 at the ’Dome
Last EDM Win: Apr. 11/15, 11-9 at Rexall Place
KNIGHT RETURNS: In 2014, Oshawa, Ontario, native Curtis Knight was second in scoring for the Rush with 72 points (35g, 37a). A rising-star, he missed the entire 2015 season with a knee injury that he suffered during the Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association championship game. His return will enhance an already powerful attack for Saskatchewan.
YOUTHFUL TRENDS: The Roughnecks average age in 2015 was 27.75 years old while this season it has dropped to 25.5 years old. Despite all the young blood, the Roughnecks still have a large contingent of veterans entering their sixth-plus season in the NLL in Curtis Dickson (6), Dan MacRae (6), Curtis Manning (7), Scott Carnegie (8), Jon Harnett (8), Mike Carnegie (9), Dane Dobbie (9), Mike Poulin (11) and Jeff Shattler (11).
RAMPANT ROOKIES: The 2015 NLL Draft was stacked with an unbelievable amount of talent with the Roughneck selecting nine players. Of the nine, five are on the opening day 20-player roster in Wesley Berg (first round, fourth overall), Reilly O’Connor (first round, seventh overall), Christian Del Bianco (second round, 15th overall), Tyson Bell (third round, 24th overall) and Kellen LeClair (third round, 25th overall). Georgia has the second most rookies on its roster with four while the other seven remaining teams have at least one rookie coming into the season. Looking at tonight’s opponent, the Rush open the 2016 campaign with 19 returning players and one rookie in forward Dan Taylor.
LETTER GAME: In December, the Roughnecks named Mike Carnegie the fourth captain in franchise history. Joining Carnegie on the 2016 leadership team is Dane Dobbie, returning as alternate captain for the third consecutive season, and newly appointed alternate captains Greg Harnett, Karsen Leung and Dan MacRae. The alternate captain duties will see Dobbie and Leung wear an ‘A’ at home with Harnett and MacRae both wearing an ‘A’ when on the road. Carnegie, a nine-year NLL veteran from London, Ontario, has spent his entire playing career with the Roughnecks after joining the club as free agent for the 2008 season. The 31-year-old defender, who wore an ‘A’ from 2011-15, has recorded 55 points (18 goals, 37 assists) and 489 loose balls in 125 regular season games and was a member of the 2009 championship team. Carnegie succeeds Bruce Alexander (2002), Tracey Kelusky (2003-10) and Andrew McBride (2011-15) as team captain.
PRE-SEASON RECAP: The Roughnecks edged the Vancouver Stealth 13-12 in exhibition play on Dec. 20 at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Tyler Digby led the Riggers attack with a five-goal effort while Curtis Dickson, with a pair of markers, Dan MacRae, Curtis Manning, Dane Dobbie, Karsen Leung, Jeff Shattler and rookie Wesley Berg all found the back of the net. Reilly O’Connor also contributed to Calgary’s attack with a five-assist performance. Curtis Manning (10-24) and Garrett McIntosh (4-7) split time in the faceoff dot while Karsen Leung picked up a team-leading eight loose balls.
BRIDER RETIRES: On October 16, the longest-serving Roughneck Andrew Bride announced his retirement from the National Lacrosse League. A native of Ladner, British Columbia, McBride finished his 13-year NLL career as the franchise leader in regular season games played (198), playoff games played (29), regular season penalty minutes (387) and playoff penalty minutes (40). He was selected by Calgary in the second round, 14th overall, in the 2002 NLL Draft and led the team as captain for five seasons (2011-15). He recorded 87 career points (19 goals, 68 assists) and 711 career loose balls over his more than a decade-long tenure with the Roughnecks. The two-time NLL Champion (2004 & 2009) and two-time NLL All-Star (2008 & 2011) played at least one game in 13 consecutive playoff seasons, collecting 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) and 96 loose balls over that span. Most recently, McBride competed at the 2015 FIL World Indoor Lacrosse Championship with Team Ireland.
ALL-TIME IN HOME OPENERS: In the previous 14 home openers, the Roughnecks have a combined record of six wins and eight losses. Tonight marks the third time Calgary has faced the Rush in a home opener. The two previous meetings were Jan. 13/06 (11-9 W) and Jan. 10/09 (10-9 OTW).
TRADE WINDS: Oct.26 – Acquired forward Tyler Digby, a first-round pick in the 2018 NLL Draft and a first-round selection in 2019 from the New England Black Wolves in exchange for forward Shawn Evans and a 2018 third-round pick; Dec. 28 – Acquired transition player Brandon Goodwin from the Buffalo Bandits in exchange for defenceman Mitch de Snoo.
HOW THE ROUGHNECKS WERE BUILT (20):
NLL Draft (13): Bell*, Berg*, Del Bianco*, Dickson, Dobbie, Greg Harnett, LeClair*, Leung, MacRae, Manning, McIntosh, O’Connor*, Scigliano
Trade (5): Digby, Goodwin, Jon Harnett, Poulin, Shattler
Free Agent (2): Mike Carnegie, Scott Carnegie
ROSTER BREAKDOWN (20):
’84-born (2): Mike Carnegie, Shattler
’85-born (2): Scott Carnegie, Poulin
’86-born (1): Dobbie
’87-born (1): Manning
’88-born (3): Dickson, Jon Harnett, MacRae
’89-born (1): McIntosh
’90-born (2): Leung, Greg Harnett
’91-born (2): Digby, Goodwin
’92-born (1): Scigliano
’93-born (2): Berg*, O’Connor*
’94-born (1): Bell*
’95-born (1): LeClair*
’97-born (1): Del Bianco*