Suffering an 18-14 setback to the Vancouver Stealth at home last Saturday definitely wasn’t the way that the Calgary Roughnecks wanted to start the 2015 National Lacrosse League season.
Looking back, the Riggers also went down to defeat in their opening games the past two seasons, but rebounded to finish with a 9-7 record in 2013 and a 12-6 mark in 2014. Last year, the ’Necks dropped a 16-11 decision on the road to the Toronto Rock on Jan. 3 before bouncing back a week later with a 13-11 win over the Colorado Mammoth at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
“The real test is to see how we rebound and we’ll see how that goes next weekend,” said forward Dane Dobbie after scoring four times and adding an assist against the Stealth.
Jeff Shattler recorded a natural hat trick in the second quarter last Saturday to give Calgary a 9-4 lead over Vancouver before the Stealth reeled off 11 straight goals en route to victory.
“It wasn’t just negatives out there,” said Shattler. “There were a lot of guys that had great efforts. We tried really hard. We’ve just got to work smart. We worked hard, but we didn’t work smart.”
Shattler and his teammates will get a chance to even their record on Saturday night when they face off in Denver at the Pepsi Centre against the Mammoth, which Calgary beat 16-15 in overtime in the first round of the playoffs last season.
“There’s 17 more games,” said an optimistic Shattler following last Saturday’s season-opening setback. “As you’ve seen in the past, it comes down to playoffs. We’ll just try to prepare for a playoff run. It starts right now. Hopefully we can bounce back and show what we’ve got in Denver.”
Only four times in their previous 13 campaigns have the Riggers lost their first two games of the season. They’re looking to avoid that fate against Colorado, which opened the season on the road last Saturday with a convincing 20-13 win over the Minnesota Swarm.
“Being 0-2 is a pretty big hole already especially when it’s really tight in our division,” said Calgary coach Curt Malawsky, whose squad will next play at home on Jan. 24 when they’ll face off against the Edmonton Rush. “We have a bye week and then play Edmonton at home, so we’d like to be 1-1. “
“We have our work to do as a coaching staff,” said Malawsky after last Saturday’s disappointing result. “We need to prepare the guys and get them going. We’re going to hang that on us as coaches. We need to be better. Our guys are going to go as we go and we didn’t have them as ready as I wanted to have them ready. If you want to look anywhere, the finger’s pointed at me and I’ll take it right on the chin.”
“Losing the first game of the season at home is going to be a reality check for this team,” said Calgary captain Andrew McBride. “I know guys are going to refocus, prepare like they need to and come ready to go for next week. Any time you give up 18 goals, that’s not going to be a successful thing. I think we put our goalies in a tough position. We’ve got to refocus and be ready to go.”
DID YOU KNOW?
In Calgary’s last game of the 2014 season, Geoff Snider scooped up nine loose balls to become the Roughnecks all-time leader in that category. Heading into this season, Snider had collected 847 loose balls, which was just two more than previous franchise leader Jeff Shattler. Snider added 12 more loose balls to his totals in Calgary’s season opener versus Vancouver to increase his lead over Shattler, who finished with two loose balls against the Stealth. Snider has now scooped up 859 loose balls during his time with the Riggers, while Shattler sits second at 847 and McBride is in third at 674. Shattler still owns the playoff franchise record with 110 loose balls, while Snider (96) and McBride (88) are right on his heels.
PLAYER PROFILE – #44 Dane Dobbie
Height & weight: 5-8, 180
Birthdate: Dec. 1, 1986
Hometown: Elora, Ont.
Fast fact: Won a Minto Cup with the Burnaby Lakers in 2005 two years before the Roughnecks selected him fourth overall in the first round of the 2007 NLL Entry Draft.
Stat attack: Dobbie’s hat trick during a 14-8 road win for Calgary against Vancouver last April 26 helped him break the previous regular-season franchise record of 50 set by Lewis Ratcliff in the 2007 season. Dobbie finished the 2014 NLL campaign with 51 goals in 18 games to lead all players in that category.
Occupation: Electrician with Pete the Electrician
Family ties: Married to Caylin, Dobbie has two younger brothers – Kyle, 20, who plays summer ball for the WLA’s Coquitlam Adanacs, and Tyler, 23, who’s in the army stationed in Comox, B.C.
Notable quotable: “It was something special coming home with the Minto Cup that year. I had never won anything prior to that and it was something that was pretty cool,” said Dobbie, who went on to win a Champion’s Cup with the Roughnecks in 2009. “It was pretty cool to be able to raise the trophy in front of the hometown crowd. I still get the jitters about it and I want to do it again.”