CALGARY, AB — Frankie Scigliano waited four years and finally got his chance.
The Calgary Roughnecks turned to the 23-year-old after their regular starter for the past five seasons — Mike Poulin — struggled out of the gate along with his team. Calgary’s 0-4 start prompted a need for change in the net. Curt Malawsky elected to start Scigliano in the Riggers’ next game against the Toronto Rock. Scigliano had a strong performance yielding 12 goals on 52 shots in a heartbreaking 12-11 loss but it did a lot for his confidence.
That game in Toronto spawned four straight starts and Scigliano finally claimed his first career NLL victory with a 16-13 triumph over the Vancouver Stealth.
“Ever since he stepped in this year he’s been lights out and he’s given us a chance to win every night and that’s all you can ask out of a goaltender,” said Curtis Dickson, who played alongside Scigliano in the summer months with the Maple Ridge Burrards of the WLA. “Our offence obviously hasn’t been what it’s been in years past and our defence — especially in the second half of the season — has really stepped it up but Frankie has been solid for us.”
Scigliano entered the season coming off an impressive summer campaign with the Burrards where his posted a league best 6.65 goals against average and a .838 save percentage. He was the winner of the Leo Nicholson Award for Most Outstanding Goaltender for the 2014 WLA Season.
His successful summer prepared him for a seamless transition into the starting role if needed. Scigliano has definitely delivered.
“He’s done a lot of preparation on his own and got himself in real good shape,” Riggers’ coach Curt Malawsky said. “We have a good goalie coach in Marty O’Neill, whose been working with Frankie.
With Scigliano seemingly taking over as the starting netminder, the veteran Poulin has been nothing short of complete professional, helping the young goalie along the way and acting as a mentor.
“I can’t speak enough about Mike Poulin,” Malawsky continued. “Being the veteran that he is, he has shown Frankie the ropes, and taught Frankie a lot. He has been the consummate professional, a great teammate, and mentor. At the end of the day, it’s what Frankie’s got between the ears, which makes him successful. I’m glad he’ part of our organization.”
Having Poulin show him first-hand what it takes to be a professional and have success as a netminder in the NLL is something Scigliano has truly appreciated while he found his way the past four seasons.
“I can’t thank Pouly enough for everything he’s done for me over these last four years,” Scigliano said. “He’s helped me mentally and physically for the challenges that come during the games and he’s that constant reminder to say ‘just stay calm and you’re doing the right things out there and good things will happen’.”
Staying calm is exactly what Scigliano had to do last Saturday night when the Roughnecks and Vancouver Stealth were tangled in a back-and-fourth battle. The winner would go on to the post-season while the loser would go home.
With the Roughnecks holding a slim 14-13 lead and 10 seconds left on the clock, Scigliano made the biggest save of his career to preserve the win for Calgary and extend the season.
“He’s made some big saves,” said Malawsky. “That save with 10 seconds left with the game on the line can only be good for his confidence going forward. Being able to understand that he can make that big save when the game is on the line is a special thing for a young guy.”
The win over the Stealth was another stepping stone for Scigliano becoming the goaltender of the future for the Roughnecks. He’s just getting started.
“Being young this year and getting lots of starts has helped me to be ready for situations like that and you have to try to thrive in those situations and make the most of it.”