CALGARY, AB – As transition player Geoff Snider eloquently put it, the Calgary Roughnecks (0-1) “don’t need to reinvent the wheel” after a season opening loss against the Toronto Rock 13-11 last weekend.
Instead he saw a lot of positives — a young team that fought back from behind most of the game who left all they had on the floor.
The loss came down to focus, he said, something that should be easily remedied for the next game against the Colorado Mammoth (0-1) on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
“As a team, the mistakes were not systematic. They were focus, communication and discipline,” said the Roughnecks’ faceoff ace who tallied his lone goal in the fourth quarter to bring the Riggers within one against the Rock. “Those are all things that are easily fixable.
“We just have to battle ourselves in a little more and be prepared to put together a full 60 minutes game.”
He said rookie head coach Curt Malawsky designed systems that are second to none inside the NLL.
“What he’s implemented … caters to who we are as athletes. It falls on us as players,” he said. “We have to go out there and we have to play with passion and heart.”
Roughnecks general manager Mike Board agrees with Snider, adding the team needs to find its legs at the start of the game, instead of part way through the third frame like last week.
“We don’t want to make a habit of that,” he said.
Last season, the Roughnecks were neck and neck jockeying for top spot in the West Division for most of the season before Calgary pulled in the last two weeks of the season. The two teams split the season series, with Colorado picking up an overtime road win 13-12, and Calgary dismantling the Mammoth 21-10 in Denver.
On the Mammoth side of the ball, the Roughnecks will be going up against one of the top players worldwide in the form of John Grant Jr. Last season, the 38-year-old broke the NLL record with 116 points and started off the this season strong with three goals and six points in an opening game loss against the Washington Stealth.
“You have to play a solid team defense,” Snider said. “You have to make sure you aren’t giving John his opportunities. He’s a guy who can have nine goals and one assist or one goal and nine assists. There will be a lot of in game adjustments and we will be looking to make decisions against John.
Roughnecks forward Dane Dobbie completed his one game suspension and is eligible to return. Board said he’s battling a shoulder problem and may be held out an additional match.