CALGARY, AB — Despite jumping out to leads of 4-0 and 5-2, the Calgary Roughnecks weren’t able to maintain that momentum and ultimately fell 13-8 to the Colorado Mammoth on Saturday.
Wesley Berg scored a pair of early goals and then completed his first National Lacrosse League hat trick with 8.8 seconds remaining in the game, but the rookie wished that he and his teammates could have done more on offence with forward Dane Dobbie out of the lineup with an upper-body injury.
“It’s nice to put a couple in,” said Berg. “I think there was some chances where we needed it in the fourth that I missed. I could have had a couple more. With Dobbes not playing, we needed a few more guys to score more goals including myself.”
Tyler Digby also had a hat trick and added assist for the Roughnecks (3-4), while rookie forward Reilly O’Connor notched his first NLL goal and added three assists in front of 9,888 fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
“It was great that Reilly got his first goal,” said Calgary coach Curt Malawsky. “That’s big for us and a big monkey off his back. He’s been great for us and for him to get one was big.”
Curtis Dickson finished with a goal and four helpers, while goalie Frankie Scigliano stopped 37 of 49 shots he faced in a losing cause.
“You take a 40-goal scorer out of the lineup, that’s massive,” said Malawsky about playing without Dobbie. “I’m not going to sit here and lie to you and try to sugar coat it. We miss a guy like that. He’s a character guy. He’s an assistant guy on his team. He’s a workhorse and he scores some big, timely goals.
“We can sit here and wallow about it and complain about it, that’s not what we’re going to do. We have to fight for him. If I’m on the team, I’ve got my elbows on the dasher, I’m going to war for that kid. That’s what I’d be doing, so these guys better come out pissed off.”
The Roughnecks will look to get back to their winning ways when they face the Vancouver Stealth at the Langley Events Centre next Saturday night.
“Obviously after a loss like this, we’re disappointed and we’d like to get right back at it, but it’s nice to play another game next week against a divisional rival and try to get our place back up in the standings,” said Berg.
Adam Jones scored four goals for the Mammoth (6-2), Callum Crawford led all scorers with a hat trick and five helpers, while netminder Dillon Ward minder made 38 saves to record the win.
Mike Burke scored twice and set up two others for Colorado, while Jeremy Noble (1g, 5a), John Grant Jr. (1g, 4a), Eli McLaughlin (1g, 2a) and Ilija Gajic (1g, 1a) also had multiple-point performances.
The ’Necks jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead thanks to a nice individual effort by Berg just 45 seconds into the first quarter. Berg fought of a check from Mammoth defenceman Robert Hope snapping a shot past Ward just before the shot clock expired.
Berg then added a power-play goal at 3:53 of the opening quarter before Digby scored exactly three minutes later to put the Riggers up 3-0.
Dickson added another one for the ’Necks at 3:55 of the second when he took a breakaway pass from Scigliano before depositing the ball into the back of the net behind Ward.
After Noble and Burke scored for the Mammoth, Digby notched his second of the game to give the Riggers a 5-2 lead.
Jones, Gajic and McLaughlin then reeled off three straight goals for the Mammoth to knot the score at 5-5 heading into the halftime intermission.
“I thought we started real well, had a bit of a lull at the end of the second quarter where they came back and grabbed some momentum,” said Malawsky. “We had a power play coming out of the half that we didn’t execute on and we had a couple more power plays in the third quarter that didn’t execute on and we ended up not scoring in the third quarter. They went on a run to start the fourth quarter and before you know it, it’s 11-6 and you’re battling back.”
O’Connor scored his goal 23 seconds into the final frame before the Mammoth scored six of the next eight goals to follow up on a 9-7 win over the Saskatchewan Rush at home in Denver two nights earlier.
“We’ll be evaluating everything and we have to be better all the way around,” said Malawsky.
“Collectively offensively we need to need to get better. We have a practice on Friday and a shoot around in the morning (next Saturday). I promise you that, we’ll be better.”