It’s quite simple for the Calgary Roughnecks – a win on Saturday against the Washington Stealth and they clinch the ever-important home playoff date, as well as move one step closer to winning the West Division.
“That’s going to be huge,” said defender Scott Carnegie. “It’s obvious we want home floor. I know we haven’t been great at home but playoffs are a totally different story.”
Fellow defender Dan McRae added, “We want to get that home floor advantage to say thanks to our fans and we want to be in our home barn.
“Right now, we are trying to grow every game, progress, and be at our best ball come playoff time.”
The only team standing in their way from accomplishing that first goal is the Washington Stealth, a squad the Roughnecks just happened to beat last week and are also close in the dogfight for a home post-season date.
A tight game for 53 minutes, the Roughnecks took advantage of a five-minute major to goaltender Tyler Richards to ensure the 13-11 victory, their third in a row and moved the Roughnecks into a tie for first in the West Division with the Edmonton Rush.
With three games remaining, the Roughnecks will clinch first place if they win out and earn the elusive home date until the NLL Champions Cup.
One area the team will hope to continue their improvement on is in transition. After allowing at least 15 goals in five straight games, the Roughnecks allowed 11 goals in back-to-back games.
“I know the numbers indicated our defence wasn’t playing great, but I thought we were really good,” Carnegie said. “You look at our five-on-five goals, we are tops in the league. We allow a lot of transition, a lot of powerplay. You can’t put that all on the defence. Poulie was getting hung out to dry a lot too.
“Five on Five, I don’t think teams can play with us. That’s not necessarily bad defence, that’s poor transition as far as I’m concerned.”
And it’s one aspect of the game where head coach Curt Malawsky sees the Roughnecks getting better.
“It’s been improving,” Malawsky said. “We had the winning goal in transition, and Scott Ranger’s goal was also a direct result of transition as well.
“I like the way we are progressing. We need to have consistency in all areas to put a full game together.
“I don’t think we’ve played our best lacrosse yet and the guys in the room can attest to that.”
Game time is 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Scotiabank Saddledome.