SHOWCASE WEEKEND: For the first time ever, the Calgary Roughnecks hosted a pre-season game at the Scotiabank Saddledome against the Edmonton Rush on Dec. 20. Calgary coach Curt Malawsky wasn’t too concerned about the 11-3 loss to the Edmonton Rush in front of 11,187 lacrosse-starved fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome. “It was a little bit of a challenge there and I thought we hung in,” Malawsky said. “We outshot them. I don’t know if the score, 11-3, was really indicative of the play. I thought we had some good chances that didn’t drop. We made a few errors that ended up in the back of our net, but it is pre-season and that’s what it’s for.” Forward Karsen Leung, who was named to the 2014 NLL All-Rookie Team, scored two of Calgary’s three goals and assisted on the other, a shorthanded marker by Dane Dobbie. The Roughnecks Showcase Weekend then continued the next day with a Select-a-Seat event, giving fans the chance to choose from the best available seat locations for the 2015 NLL season, and the Train Like A Pro workshops, providing 150 minor lacrosse players with the opportunity to get on the turf to practise their lacrosse skills. The Roughnecks will kick off the 2015 season on Saturday when they host the Vancouver Stealth at the Saddledome (7 p.m.).
ROUGHNECKS VS. STEALTH: The Roughnecks were a perfect 4-0 against the Stealth in the 2014 regular season winning one game in each of January, February, March and April. The Riggers opened the season series between the two squads on Jan. 18 at the Saddledome with a 15-12 win over the Stealth. One month later on Feb. 14, Calgary cruised to a 20-9 triumph at home over Vancouver. The Riggers then earned a pair of road wins at the Langley Events Centre – a 13-8 decision on March 21 and a 14-8 win on April 26. Shawn Evans paced Calgary’s scoring attack against the Rush with 11 goals and 20 helpers in the four-game set, while Dobbie (16g, 11a), Jeff Shattler (7g, 15a), Curtis Dickson (10g, 7a), Daryl Veltman (6g, 7a) and Geoff Snider (5g, 5a) also reached double figures. Calgary goalie Mike Poulin earned wins in all four games as he made 134 saves and chipped in with a pair of assists along the way. Rhys Duch led all Stealth scorers with seven goals and nine helpers against Calgary in the regular season, while Lewis Ratcliff (7g, 7a) and Tyler Digby (5g, 5a) were also dangerous.
A LOOK BACK: Led by the offensive exploits of Evans and Dobbie, the Roughnecks finished second in the NLL’s West Division with a 12-6 record. Evans finished second in the league with 105 points (26g, 79a) behind NLL MVP Cody Jamieson of the Rochester Knighthawks, who edged him out by just three points (36g, 72a). Meanwhile, Dobbie led the league with 51 goals, which also set a new franchise record. Dobbie also chipped in with 39 assists to finish with a career-best 90 points. Shattler also set a career high with 84 points (35g, 49a) as did Dickson, who racked up 72 points (44g, 28a). Veltman (20g, 41a), Snider (17g, 16a) and Leung (11g, 18a) also all reached double digits in both goals and assists. In net, Poulin was once again a workhorse for the Riggers as he compiled a 12-5 record to go with an 11.45 goals against average and a .770 save percentage.
DOMINANT DOBBIE: Dobbie’s three-goal performance during a 14-8 road win for Calgary against the Stealth last April 26 helped him break the previous regular-season franchise record of 50 set by Ratcliff in the 2007 season. Dobbie finished the 2014 NLL campaign with 51 goals in 18 games to lead all players in that category. “It’s nice to get three goals and set that (record), but it has a lot to do with our offence and guys moving the ball and finding me when I was open,” Dobbie said.
REMARKABLE PLAYOFF RUN: In the opening round of the playoffs on May 3, the Roughnecks hosted the Colorado Mammoth and advanced due to a thrilling 16-15 overtime win. Evans scored at 1:23 of extra session to finish the game with four goals and five assists. Dobbie also scored four times and added four assists, while Dickson had a hat trick and three helpers. Shattler scored twice and set up two others, while Snider (2g) and Veltman (1g, 6a) also scored. The Riggers then punched their ticket to the Champion’s Cup final series by virtue of a 2-1 win in a 10-minute tiebreaker game against the Rush on May 16 in Edmonton at Rexall Place. The Rush, which lost Game 1 of the West Final 12-11 in overtime in Calgary on May 10, forced the mini-game after edging the Roughnecks 15-13 in Game 2 at home six days later. Evans scored twice before the three-minute mark of the mini-game to give the ’Necks an early 2-0 lead before Zack Greer replied for Edmonton to pull the Rush within a goal. Poulin stood his ground to stop nine of 10 shots he faced in the tiebreaker game to preserve the victory for the Riggers.
OH, SO CLOSE: After beating the Knighthawks 10-7 at home on May 24, the Roughnecks needed just one more victory to capture their first NLL title since 2009. The K-hawks had other ideas though as they won Game 2 by a score of 16-10 at Rochester’s Blue Cross Arena on May 31 before also prevailing 3-2 in the 10-minute tiebreaker game to make history by becoming the first NLL team to win three straight league titles. “It’s tough, obviously coming into this game up one,” said Dickson, who followed up a hat trick and three helpers in Game 2 with another goal in the tiebreaker game. “It’s a game of runs. Obviously they went on more than we did. That’s what championship teams do. They win the big games and score the big goals when it matters.” Craig Point scored twice, including the game-winning goal with 58.5 seconds remaining, while Joe Walters had a goal and an assist in the mini-game. Rochester goalie Matt Vinc made 38 saves in Game 2 and then stopped seven of nine shots he faced in the tiebreaker game. Evans and Dickson scored to put the Riggers up 2-0 in the mini-game, before Rochester rallied with three goals to deny Calgary’s Cup quest. Poulin stopped eight of 11 shots he faced in the tiebreaker game.
SCORING BARRAGE: Evans led all players in the 2014 NLL playoffs with 31 points on 13 goals and 18 assists. In fact, the Roughnecks boasted five of the top post-season scorers. Dickson led all players in goals with 14 and added 14 more assists to finish second in the playoff scoring race behind Evans and six points ahead of Jamieson, who tallied nine goals to go with 13 helpers. Shattler (9g, 12a), Dobbie (12g, 8a) and Veltman (5g, 14a) finished right behind Jamieson in fourth, fifth and sixth spots respectively.
RIGGERS RECEIVE ACCOLADES: Evans was the lone Roughneck to be named to the 2014 NLL All-Pro First Team. Joining him on the team at forward were Jamieson as well as Garrett Billings of the Toronto Rock. Transition player Jordan MacIntosh of the Minnesota Swarm was also named to the All-Pro First Team as were defenceman Kyle Rubisch of the Edmonton Rush and Rochester goalie Matt Vinc. Dobbie and Dickson were named to the NLL All-Pro Second Team along with Mammoth forward Adam Jones, transition stalwart Brodie Merrill of the Philadelphia Wings and a pair of Rush players in defenceman Chris Corbeil and goalie Aaron Bold. Meanwhile, Leung was named to the 2014 NLL All-Rookie Team along with Logan Schuss (Swarm), Robert Church (Rush), Tyler Digby (Stealth), Garrett Thul (Wings) and Dillon Ward (Mammoth).
BEAN HONOURED: The NLL named John Bean, Calgary Roughnecks Governor and Chief Operating Officer of the Calgary Sports & Entertainment Corporation, the Executive of the Year at the 2014 NLL Season Awards Ceremony held on Sept. 21 at Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville, Ontario. “On behalf of the Calgary Roughnecks, I am honoured to receive this award in recognition of our accomplishments last season,” Bean said. As a member of the NLL Board of Governors, Bean continues to assist the league and all its partners by focusing the NLL and its member teams on the current financial model. In addition, Bean serves as a member and chairman of the NLL Audit Finance Committee. Bean was an instrumental member of the rebuild effort at the Saddledome and oversaw the reconstruction of the entire event level following the devastating Alberta floods of 2013.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
2 – Mike Poulin is two wins away from recording his 50th NLL victory.
4 – Dane Dobbie is four games shy of 100.
5 – Mike Carnegie is five points away from 50.
6 – Mike Poulin is six assists shy of 50.
7 – Karsen Leung is seven loose balls away from 100.
8 – Curtis Dickson is eight assists away from 100.
9 – Daryl Veltman is nine games shy of 100.
10 – Jeff Shattler needs 10 goals to reach 200.
10 – Jon Harnett is 10 games shy of 100.
17 – Curtis Manning is 17 loose balls away from 300.
27 – Daryl Veltman is 27 loose balls away from 300.