Just nine games into his second National Lacrosse League season, Karsen Leung is well on his way to improving upon all of his offensive statistics from his rookie campaign.
After scoring two goals and adding an assist during a 13-7 setback to the Rochester Knighthawks at the Scotiabank Saddledome last Saturday, Leung now has 22 points (7g, 15a) in nine games.
Leung needs just five goals and four helpers in Calgary’s final eight games to improve upon the totals (11g, 18a) he put up in the 2014 regular season with the Riggers.
“That would obviously be nice,” said the 24-year-old transition player, who would much rather help the ’Necks improve upon their 2-8 record. “I have more qualitative goals than quantitative – just working hard and controlling what I can do. I can’t control scoring every game or getting points. It’s just helping the team out in just little aspects. I can control working hard every shift, watching film, reading the scouting reports, stuff like that. I think that translates into the more quantitative goals.”
The Riggers will play the second of three straight home games this Friday (7 p.m.) when they host the New England Black Wolves (3-5) at the ’Dome.
“We’re still in the playoff hunt, which is what we’ve got our eyes on,” said Leung. “I think every weekend now, we can’t take any team lightly. Every game’s going to be a dogfight. We know what we need are wins, so we just have to put together a complete game, which is what we really haven’t been able to do this season.”
Calgary captain Andrew McBride said the Riggers will definitely face a tough task against the Black Wolves, who rallied to beat the Minnesota Swarm 10-9 on the road last Saturday.
“We’re going to continue to push the pace and hopefully stick to the game plan,” McBride said. “I think just focus ourselves. I think sometimes we worry too much about what a team’s going to bring to the table. We’ve got to do what we do best. Our offence has got to get clicking and do what they do. Our defence is going to watch some film and be prepared.
“One thing our coaches do well is preparing us for the game plan and we need to do a good job of being ready to go, especially playing a team that we haven’t seen a lot of. We’ve really got to watch a lot of video and be aware of things we can do.”
“It’s 90 per cent mental and 10 per cent physical and we’ve got to work on our mental game,” said Calgary coach Curt Malawsky. “We’ve got to be mentally tough, because we have the athletes, we have the personnel, we have the character, we have the heart, we have the passion. We’ve got all that and we just have to work on our mental game and continue to believe in ourselves. This thing’s far from over. We’re still at the point where we still control our own destiny. We’ve got some divisional games coming up and a big game against New England (on Friday).”
“Every game’s a test here,” McBride said. “There’s no more manoeuverability. It’s time to go. We’ve got to go on a run here. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. You’ve got to man up and look in the mirror and say I’m going to bring my best game to the table.”
DID YOU KNOW?
Calgary’s newest acquisition, forward Sean Pollock, scored once and set up two others while playing for his former team, the Colorado Mammoth, against the Roughnecks on Jan. 10 in Denver. With the Riggers leading 16-14 in the fourth quarter, Pollock assisted on a goal by John Grant Jr. before Joey Cupido tied things up with 1:25 to play in regulation to send the game to overtime. Grant then scored 31 seconds into the extra session to complete the comeback victory.
PLAYER PROFILE – #21 Karsen Leung
Height & weight: 6-0, 180
Birthdate: April 21, 1990
Hometown: Victoria, B.C.
Fast fact: Has won back-to-back Western Lacrosse Association titles with the Victoria Shamrocks. Unfortunately for Leung, his hometown team has lost the Mann Cup, Canada’s senior men’s lacrosse championship, in six games two years in a row to the Six Nations Chiefs.
Stat attack: Recorded a career-high five points (2g, 3a) on Feb. 7 during a 15-14 overtime road loss to the Buffalo Bandits. In his young career, Leung has scored two goals in a game on five different occasions, but he’s still looking for his first NLL hat trick.
Occupation: Financial advisor with Sun Life Financial working towards becoming a certified financial planner.
Family ties: Both his mom and dad also work in the financial services industry.
Notable quotable: “Obviously as a player you’d like to win all the time, but that certainly doesn’t happen,” Leung said. “Being in this losing situation, it’s taught us a lot of things. It teaches us that winning doesn’t come easily and you can see that with just the two wins we have this year, but we’re still competing hard, we’re fighting. We haven’t given up, which is a big thing and it shows us that we have a lot of character on our team. We’re going to battle until the end, no matter what happens.”