With Dane Dobbie, it’s personal.
There’s no murky grey involved. No easy let-offs of convenience. No feel-good rationalizing.
Moral victories are, when you cut to the chase, no victories at all.
“The weeks suck,’’ said the diminutive dynamo, the black shroud at last lifted from overtop he and his Calgary Roughneck brethren. “During the week really does suck.
“When you’re losing games, you’re mind’s going on ‘Why?’ and what you can do better.
“But the thing about this club is we never pointed the finger at anybody but ourselves.
“I think it showed a lot of character for us to come in from Colorado after getting embarrassed there, coming home.
Channelling all the simmering anger, exasperation, the indignities and the lost ground of the past five weeks – most recently a bewildering 18-9 pounding from the homesteading Colorado Mammoth on Friday – Dobbie took it out on the Georgia Swarm at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Seven goals equalled a career single-game high. As did 11 points.
With the pressure ratcheted up in the wake of five consecutive National Lacrosse League losses, Saturday’s 18-11 slapdown of the high-flying Georgia Swarm could be considered nothing less than essential for the Roughnecks.
And in the doing, Dobbie’s final goal of the evening, at 13:50 of the fourth quarter, pulled him alongside Kaleb Toth for second place in franchise scoring at 628.
“Dane is what I classify – and I’ve said it for years – an old-school warrior,’’ lauded ‘Necks’ coach Curt Malawsky, trotting out what must surely be his highest citation of valour. “He carries the weight of the world on his shoulder.”
“He does take it personally. He takes the teams successes and failures personally.”
“How do you not love a guy that cares that much? That caring is contagious.”
Dobbie’s not one to play-act how he’s feeling. He’s a notoriously prickly sort following losses.
Ask Holden Cattoni.
“I room with him on the road and, yeah, he can sometimes be a hard guy to be around when things aren’t going well,’’ said the Calgary-born freshman.
“But that’s because he’s the emotional leader of our team. We really feed off his energy and I think that was evident tonight.
“When he scores, he gets excited and we get excited. He doesn’t enjoy losing. And that’s the kind of example you need, especially from an assistant captain and one of your leadership group.”
“Someone young guys like me can watch, lean on, learn from and look up to.”
Dobbie was certainly worth watching Saturday. By anyone who remotely fancies the game of lacrosse.
“Tonight,’’ he reasoned, “the ball was just dropping for me. I’ve had some struggles this year.
“Last night was probably one of my worst as a Calgary Roughneck. It’s nice to bounce back personally but it doesn’t matter who scores on this team.”
“If we’re getting wins, that’s what matters. That’s how we’ve been playing for years here. You know, it’s nice that Curtis (Dickson) can take a night off.”
“Digger goes off for five a few games ago. Shatts can go off, Wesley can go off.”
“Tonight I got the hot hand. Next week it could be someone else.”
The Swarm arrived sporting a table-topping 7-1 record, ranked second in goals scored, third in goals against.
But they were ambushed by a Roughneck group badly beaten Friday and entering the business end of back-to-backs. Thirteen first-half goals finished one off the Riggers’ franchise record.
The ‘Necks scored with 2.0 seconds remaining in the first quarter and 2.5 in the second.
They dented old pal Mike Poulin on their second shot of the night (Wesley Berg), over the left shoulder (Dobbie), the right shoulder (Dobbie) and through the wickets (Dobbie). From in tight and off in an adjoining time zone.
Arguably the piece de resistance came courtesy of fireplug Dobbie, shorthanded, an audacious behind-the-back blinder, just a jai-alai whippet of a shot from a good 15 feet out, to count Calgary 12th of a Who’s Your Daddy? first half.
After the Swarm put together a couple strong runs to close within four, 15-11, that man Dobbie struck again, hopping off the bench to collect a superb outlet pass from goaltender Frank Scigliano and plunge a final stiletto in the hearts of his long-time teammate and pal Poulin, as well as the Swarm.
“That was a massive goal,” agreed Malawsky. “I also thought the shorthanded goal in the third quarter when he rolled underneath and broke the momentum was a big one, too. He had some back-breakers in there.”
“I love Poulie,’’ said Dobbie. “I played with him for so long. We have a lot of memories together. He’s from back home. I played with him a little bit in minor.”
“We’re pretty tight.”
“He was pretty upset afterwards. I could see it in his eyes.”
“Nothing but the best of him. He’s doing really well in Georgia. They’ve got a great team over there.”
“I told him I hope to see him later in the season.”