CALGARY, AB – The 2015 NLL Playoffs begin Saturday for the Calgary Roughnecks.
They will travel into Denver to face their Rocky Mountain rival, the Colorado Mammoth. This the third straight year the two teams will meet in the West Division Semi-Final.
“They’ve got a great coaching staff and they are very well prepared,” said Roughnecks coach Curt Malawsky. “It’s going to be a tall order for us going down there, but we’ve been down this road before.”
The Roughnecks earned a playoff spot in their regular season finale with a 14-13 win over the Vancouver Stealth.
That game was a metaphor that summed up their entire season.
“Over the last few years, we’ve been a very resilient bunch,” Malawsky said. “To start out the season the way we did (0-6 record) and battle through the adversity and to be able to come down to one game at the end of the season. After our start in that last game, we struggled a bit, but we poured it on. We struggled a bit more in the fourth quarter, but at the end of the day, our character shined through.”
Coming off of a big win, many would expect that the team will be confident and extra motivated.
That may be true, but they believe the adversity and hardships endured during the season will be beneficial to their success in the playoffs.
“If we’re riding any high, it’s the high from what we’ve learned about ourselves as men, as teammates, and as professionals,” said Roughnecks transition player Geoff Snider. “There was a massive amount of adversity this year, probably more than this organization has ever seen.
“We are excited that we really had to earn things. That’s been, sort of, of mantra all season – respect is earned. We certainly had to do that this year. After and 0-6 start, we were counted out a lot. We’ve been scrappy and resilient and we have really come together as a group.”
Colorado is coming off a 13-10 loss to the West Division’s top seeded Edmonton Rush.
The Mammoth finished with a better record than the Roughnecks and earned home field advantage for Saturday. They are hoping that playing in front of a packed Pepsi Centre will help inspire their team to victory.
“It’s nice to be playing at home,” said Mammoth coach Dan Stroup. “Hopefully it’ll energize the boys. I think the record speaks for itself playing Calgary. There have been so many overtimes in the last five meetings. If that pushes us over the edge, great, but both teams will be ready to go.”
Despite holding a 2-1 record against the Roughnecks this season (2-0 at home), the Mammoth are still conscious of the fact that Calgary has beaten them the last six times the teams met in the playoffs.
They will not take the Roughnecks lightly.
“They have a high powered offence,” said Mammoth defenseman Dan Coates. “I expect a tough game. Both teams are ready to battle. We’ll be ready. Our coaching staff has done a great job preparing us this far and we’re looking forward to Saturday night.”
In the last twelve regular season and playoff games between the teams dating back to 2012, eight of those games have gone to overtime. Of those eight, the Mammoth have won six.
The Roughnecks, however, aren’t concerned with past results.
“The record in overtime means nothing,” Malawsky stated. “I expect the game to be a one-goal game. It’ll be one late in the fourth quarter or if it goes past that, it’ll be overtime. We expect a real tough battle; we are very evenly matched teams. They’ve got a great coaching staff and they are very well prepared. It’s going to be a tall order for us going down there, but we’ve been down this road before”
Both teams will be excited and ready to go on Saturday night in what they expect to be a tough, close game.
“This is a battle-tested group and we’re excited to get going this weekend,” Malawsky said