The Calgary Roughnecks have dug themselves a deep hole that alternate captain Mike Carnegie believes they can climb out of if they continue to remain positive and work hard.

When the season started, the Riggers (0-5) never thought that they would have the National Lacrosse League’s worst record heading into their Valentine’s Day clash against the Vancouver Stealth (2-3) at the Langley Events Centre on Saturday (8 p.m.).

“There’s a real sense of urgency on our part,” said Carnegie, who’s in his eighth season as a defenceman with the ’Necks. “We’ve got to win. Everyone knows we’re capable of playing a really good game against Vancouver. I think it’s just a matter of proving it.”

The Riggers have dropped their last two decisions by just one goal each time, including a heart-breaking 15-14 loss in overtime to the Buffalo Bandits at the Scotiabank Saddledome last Saturday.

“We’ve slowly improved in certain aspects,” Carnegie said. “I think we’re ready for a win and I think we’re due for one. You just have to keep battling and you just have to keep working hard. You can’t lose confidence in your game and you’ve got to trust each other still. I think you need to look back on what made you successful to begin with – maybe even in previous years.”

Carnegie definitely believes the Roughnecks still have what it takes to battle back and earn a playoff berth, which is something they’ve done every year he’s been on the team.

“You might have a bounce go the wrong way or a play go the wrong way or a little slip up here and there, but the systems still work and the players still have the ability to get the job done,” he said. “It’s just trusting and believing that you can do it.”

In order to shake off their franchise-worst start to a season, the ’Necks have to put the past behind them and focus on their home-and-home series against the Stealth, which will see the two West Division rivals meet again for a rematch at the ’Dome on Saturday, Feb. 21 (7 p.m.).

“A lot of people have said that a goal here or a bounce there and your record’s different, but we’ve got to own it,” Carnegie said. “We’ve got to own the 0-5 record and try and correct it. We’re just more concentrating on this weekend. The past is what the past is. We’ve got 13 games left here to sort of right the ship.”


“I can tell you that our guys aren’t complaining about it, not whining about it, we’re looking to make our own breaks,” said Calgary coach Curt Malawsky in regards to the team’s 0-5 record. “You learn a lot about a team, a lot about a group when you’re 0-5. It sounds really odd, but I’m happy about the way these guys are responding. There’s not finger pointing, we’re not panicking, we’re just continuing to battle and trusting in ourselves. If the guys continue to do that and continue to believe in what we’ve got going on, things are going to turn around. We’re excited to get going this weekend to get things turned around.”


During his 14-year career, recently-retired forward Lewis Ratcliff racked up a total of 440 goals and 519 assists for 959 points in 196 games. Ratcliff finished his career with the Vancouver Stealth organization, with whom he also played four seasons when the team was known as the Washington Stealth and based in Everett, Wash. Ratcliff started his career with the Roughnecks and played 90 games over six seasons before being traded to the Toronto Rock. He currently sits fifth all-time in points during the regular season (210 goals, 251 assists for 461 points) with the Riggers behind current Stealth assistant coach Kaleb Toth (628 points), Tracey Kelusky (539), Jeff Shattler (482) and Dane Dobbie (470). Shattler and Dobbie only passed Ratcliff on that list earlier this season. Ratcliff also sits third all-time in Stealth franchise scoring during the regular season with 183 goals and 219 assists for 402 points in 85 games. He trails just Rhys Duch (552) and Gary Rosyski (530) on that list.

PLAYER PROFILE – #16 Mike Carnegie

Position: Defence

Shoots: Right

Height & weight: 5-10, 190

Birthdate: March 4, 1984

Hometown: London, Ont.

Resides: Calgary

Fast fact: Donates annually to Partners Relief & Development, including sums of $10,000 in each of 2011 and 2012. (Their main focus is building schools and sustainable development,” he said. “A lot of it’s because they’re caught up in a civil war so they need basic supplies to live in the jungle. So there’s rice and food and tarps, firewood – things like that – that sustain them while conflict is happening.”)

Stat attack: Mike set career highs for goals (four) and loose balls (87) in the 2011 season and has fished with six assists on three different occasions (2008, 2010, 2012). With three helpers through five games, he’s on pace to set a career high for assists in a season.

Occupation: Works at Stantec as a consultant in the planning department.

Family ties: Mike and his wife Hailey have two kids – Charlie, 3, and Haddon, 1. Mike’s younger brother Scott also plays defence for the Roughnecks.

Notable quotable: “I’m actually coaching this year for the first time,” said Carnegie, who’s enjoying giving back while watching his eldest son Charlie learn and play lacrosse. “It’s great. You’re starting to see the full circle come back where some of the guys that have played pro are now staying in Alberta and helping out, which is great because any time you can get the knowledge that a professional player has back in the minor system, it’s only going to pay off down the road. I’m pretty stoked about that.”

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