CALGARY, AB — Taking a page out of the Calgary Flames playbook, the Calgary Roughnecks will have three goalies on their opening day roster.
Joining last year’s goaltending duo of Frankie Scigliano and Mike Poulin will be 2015 second round draft pick Christian Del Bianco. The 18-year old helped lead Team Canada to the Gold Medal at the 2015 U-19 World Lacrosse Challenge this past summer.
He followed that up with an outstanding Roughnecks training camp and impressed the brass enough to keep him on the roster.
Being such a young goaltender, it is unlikely he will see much action early on, but it will be a great opportunity for him to develop alongside the pros.
“There’s so much you can learn from them,” said Del Bianco. “My biggest responsibility here is to sit back and learn from them.”
Scigliano, the Roughnecks starter in Calgary’s 13-12 pre-season tune-up victory over the Vancouver Stealth, is hoping to build on his success from the second half of last season when he helped push the Riggers into the post-season for the 14th consecutive season going 5-2 down the stretch.
While Scigliano was spectacular in the West Semi-Final against the Colorado Mammoth, it was Poulin who stole the show in the West Final.
After a slow start, Scigliano was replaced by Poulin and the Roughnecks surged back and eventually won the game. They would later drop the tie-breaking mini-game, but the stellar performance put Poulin back in place to compete for the starting job in 2016.
Scigliano saw limited action this summer with his WLA team, the Maple Ridge Burrards. Poulin, on the other hand, played consistently for the Brooklin Redmen of the MSL and had a strong season.
With the number one job on the line, training camp was all about friendly competition.
“You have to earn your spot out there,” admitted Scigliano. “I’m here in camp and I’m trying to earn that number one position. Whatever happens, happens but I’m going to give it my all out here.”
“We’re both very supportive of each other. Our goal is to make it very hard on our coaching staff making decision of who they’re going with,” added Mike Poulin. “I’m sure we both want to play, that’s the competitive nature of any athlete.”
Scigliano seems to have come out on top in that competition and is expected to be the Roughnecks opening day starter.
The leash may be short, though.
With Poulin ready to go and a young, hungry Del Bianco anxious to get his chance, the Roughnecks could play the hot hand if anyone struggles.
Fans should expect some quality goaltending this season with the further development of Scigliano and the quality back-ups in Poulin and Del Bianco.
Safe to say, the net is well protected.