In a rematch of the 2019 NLL Champion’s Cup, the Buffalo Bandits finally got their revenge.
The Calgary Roughnecks were in the KeyBank Center for the first time since May 18, 2019, but this time around, the Bandits would send them home with a 16-9 loss.
It was a physical start between the two clubs, but things would get too aggressive from the Riggers. With the visitors taking some early penalties, Dhane Smith would capitalize with the game’s opening goal.
That aggressiveness would continue for the Roughnecks, but with their transition game, which pushed the pace for the entire first half. They would find the back of the net for the first time in 2021 on a Jesse King goal scored on a great feed from Reece Callies on the run. And after falling behind 7-5 late in the first half, a pair of fantastic long lead passes to Curtis Dickson tied up the game heading into the break.
Buffalo would come out of the gate hot in third quarter, rallying off seven straight goals all while holding the Riggers offence at bay.
The Roughnecks would battle back in the fourth, but it would not be enough. Calgary couldn’t overcome the deficit and would fall on opening night.
“At the start of the game we had some real good looks inside. We had a shooting plan and we didn’t really follow the shooting plan early and I thought we gave (Matt) Vinc some confidence early…they were on the power play and we made an error of turning the ball over and it ended up in our net. A couple of breakdowns here and there and the next thing you know they scored four in a row. They went on a seven to nothing run and if you do that, you pretty much put a nail in your own coffin.”
BY THE NUMBERS:
Jesse King, 2g, 4a, 11 shots
Curtis Dickson, 4g, 1a, 12 shots
Dan Taylor, 2a
Zach Currier, 1g
Tanner Cook, 1g
Liam LeClair, 1a
Harrison Matsuoka, 1a
Christian Del Biano, 33 saves
“We stuck with it. I was proud of of the guys that we stuck with it in the fourth quarter. No one quit. But once you put yourself behind the eight ball that bad, it’s really hard to climb out of a hole that deep, especially in an opposing rink.” – Curt Malawsky
“I thought it was a good first 30 minutes. It’s tough in the NLL, you need to put together a full 60 and we weren’t able to do that tonight. It’s the first game of the season, so you try to have a quick memory and get ready for next week.” – Jesse King
“You know, we had flashes where we looked really great and then there were other times where we took shots that we shouldn’t be taking and that are uncharacteristic of us. We’re going out and not sticking to our scheme like we should be. We have a lot of new guys on the team that are still figuring things out. There’s lots of room to grow for us.” – Jesse King
The Roughnecks will stay on the road in Week 2 of the NLL season, heading to Saskatoon to take on the Saskatchewan Rush. Calgary will take on their division rival, with both clubs looking to get into the win column.