FACING BANDITS: The Buffalo Bandits will open their 25th anniversary season tomorrow when the Calgary Roughnecks (0-1) invade the First Niagara Center. Calgary faced the Bandits once during the 2015 regular season with Buffalo winning 15-14 in overtime on Feb. 7 at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Roughnecks enter Buffalo after losing their home opener to the Saskatchewan Rush, 10-8. After Calgary built a first half lead of 5-2, the momentum shifted in the final 30 minutes to see the defending NLL champions secure their first road win of the season. The Roughnecks were led by Dane Dobbie (three goals, one assist) and Curtis Dickson (two goals, two assists) who each recorded four points. Frankie Scigliano made 37 saves in the setback.
STATS COMPARISON: 2015 REGULAR SEASON
Power Play Pct.
Penalty Kill Pct.
Points Leader – Series
Shawn Evans (8), Curtis Dickson (8)
Ryan Benesch (8)
Points Leader – Season
Shawn Evans (130)
Ryan Benesch (113)
ALL-TIME REGULAR SEASON SERIES: VS. BUFFALO
Regular Season Records
All-Time in CGY: 3-4
All-Time in BUF: 1-1
Last CGY Win:
Apr. 5/14, 16-13 at First Niagara Center
Last BUF Win:
Apr. 7/15, 15-14 (OT) at the ’Dome
SPOILER ALERT: This season, the Roughnecks will be the opponent in home openers for Buffalo on Jan. 9 and New England on Jan. 15. In Calgary’s last 10 opponent home openers they have played spoiler, posting a record of 6-4 including a 3-1 mark in their last four contests.
WELCOME TO THE NLL: On Thursday, Nick Sakiewicz (Suh‐KEV‐itch) was appointed NLL Commissioner. Sakiewicz brings over two decades of experience working in Major League Soccer, most recently serving as co-founding partner and CEO of Keystone Sports and Entertainment, the ownership entity of the Philadelphia Union of MLS. Sakiewicz takes over for former NLL Commissioner George Daniel, who had served in the role since 2009 before announcing in November that was he stepping down to start a new law firm while remaining as Counsel to the league.
EAST BEAST ‘N’ FEAST: Last season, Calgary posted a 2-5 record against the East Division. In 2014, the Roughnecks had a record of 6-1 when playing their East Division rivals.
FAMILIAR FACES: Transition player Brandon Goodwin will face his former team for the first time this evening following a December trade that saw rookie defender Mitch de Snoo head east. Goodwin recorded seven points (three goals, four assists) and 17 loose balls in 10 games during his 2015 NLL rookie campaign. The 6-foot-2, 212-pound transition player from New Westminster, British Columbia, was selected by Buffalo in the first round, ninth overall, in the 2014 NLL Draft … In the offseason, the Bandits signed former Roughneck Daryl Veltman. The 30-year old forward registered 21 goals and 57 points in 17 games with Calgary in 2015, helping the Roughnecks advance to the West Division final.
ON THE VERGE: Veteran forward Dane Dobbie is two goals away from becoming the franchise’s all-time goals leader. The current record of 274 was set by former Roughnecks star Kaleb Toth who spent 11 seasons with Calgary. Dobbie, now in his ninth NLL season with the Roughnecks, finished the 2015 campaign in the top-3 in team scoring with 36 goals and 31 assists for 67 points. Dobbie was selected by Calgary in the first round, fourth overall, in the 2007 NLL Draft.
JT RETIRES: After an incredible 24 seasons, lacrosse legend John Tavares called it a career. Tavares, a three-time NLL MVP, spent his entire playing career in Buffalo. Now 47, he retires as the NLL’s all-time leader in games played (306), goals (815), assists (934) and points (1,749). He remains part of the Bandits organization, stepping into the role of assistant coach.
YOUTHFUL TRENDS: The Roughnecks average age in 2015 was 27.75 years old while this season it has dropped to 25.5 years old. With 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 Roughnecks selected nine players in the 2015 NLL Draft. Of the nine, five are on the 20-player active 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 tomorrow’s opponent, the Bandits open the 2016 campaign with one rookie in forward Anthony Malcolm, selected by Buffalo in the second round, 11th overall, in 2015.
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 495 loose balls in 126 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.
BRIDER RETIRES: In October, 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.
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.
HALL OF FAME HONOURS: Roughnecks head coach and assistant general manager Curt Malawsky was one of 10 new members along with the 1981-83 Peterborough James Gang Lacrosse team inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame for 2015. Malawsky, now entering his seventh season behind the Roughnecks bench, joined the Calgary club as an associate coach and assistant general manager during the summer of 2009. Prior to taking on a coaching role, Malawsky played two of his 12 NLL seasons in Calgary (2008-09), recording 46 goals and 88 points over that span. In 2009, Malawsky won his first Champion’s Cup as a member of the Roughnecks.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
1 – Mike Poulin is one win away from recording his 50th NLL victory.
1 — Jeff Shattler is one game from 150 games played.
1 – Dane Dobbie is one goal shy of Kaleb Toth’s 274 (Roughnecks all-time leader).
2 – Dane Dobbie is two assists away from 250.
4 — Jeff Shattler is four PPA shy of 50.
4 – Dan MacRae is four points away from 50.
5 – Mike Poulin is five assists shy of 50.
5 — Mike Carnegie is five loose balls away from 500.
5 — Scott Carnegie is five games from 100 games played.
6 – Peter McFetridge is six loose balls shy of 250.
6 — Curtis Manning is six points from 50.
7 — Jeff Shattler is seven PPG shy of 50.
7 — Karsen Leung is seven assists shy of 50.
11 — Dane Dobbie is 11 PPG from 100.
13 — Tyler Digby is 13 games shy of 50 game played.
14 — Karsen Leung is 14 games away from 50 games played.
15 — Curtis Dickson is 15 games from 100 career games played.
18 — Dan MacRae is 18 caused turnovers from 100.
23 — Karsen Leung is 23 loose balls shy of 200.