TOUGH TASK AT HAND: The Calgary Roughnecks (4-3) will look to run their winning streak to three straight games when they face off against the Rochester Knighthawks (5-2) at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night (7 p.m.). It will be a tough test for the Riggers against the two-time defending National Lacrosse League champions. “We’re going to be playing a real hot Rochester team,” said Calgary coach Curt Malawsky. “I’ve been watching tape all week and they’re solid. There’s no holes in that group. They’ve got a world-class goaltender (Matt Vinc), great offensive stats and their defence is big, strong and physical.” Coming off a 17-9 road win over the Toronto Rock last weekend, the K-Hawks will also be looking to extend their winning streak to three games. “It’s going to be definitely a tough test here,” said Rochester coach Mike Hasen. “We’re just looking to build and keep moving forward here. We’ve just got to make sure we capitalize on our chances when we get them.”
RIGGER ROUT: The Roughnecks fired three goals in 27 seconds early in the second half en route to a 20-9 win over the Vancouver Stealth at the ’Dome last Saturday night. Shawn Evans led the way for the Roughnecks with four goals and seven assists for an incredible 11 points, two off his own franchise record. Dane Dobbie (4g, 4a) and Jeff Shattler (2g, 6a) both finished with eight points, while Curtis Dickson continued his hot streak with three goals and two helpers. Geoff Snider also had a hat trick and added a pair of assists while going 82 per cent in the faceoff circle. Karsen Leung (1g, 1a), Daryl Veltman (1g, 1a), Matthew Dinsdale (1g, 1a) and Curtis Manning (1g) rounded out the scoring for the ‘Necks, while Dan MacRae and Garrett McIntosh chipped in with two assists each. Brett Bucktooth (3g, 1a), Rhys Duch (4a), Lewis Ratcliff (2g, 1a) and Tyler Digby (1g, 2a) led the Stealth attack, while Cody Bremner, Nick Weiss and Tyler Garrison also scored. The Roughnecks led 8-5 by halftime and 14-7 by the end of the third quarter. Calgary goalie Mike Poulin stopped 28 of 36 shots for the victory, with Frankie Scigliano making three saves in relief. Tyler Richards and Matt Roik split time for the Stealth, with both making 18 saves in the loss.
ROUGHNECKS VS. KNIGHTHAWKS: In their lone meeting last season, the Roughnecks lost a 15-14 heartbreaker to the Knighthawks on April 13 at the Saddledome. Despite the setback, Malawsky commended his players for putting in a solid effort. “I thought they left everything out there,” Malawsky said. “I’ve been around the game for 38 years and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Those guys have got nothing to be ashamed off out there. We were one shot short.” Evans, who played his first six seasons as a member of the K-Hawks, had three goals and seven assists to pace Calgary’s attack, while Shattler also had a strong game for the Riggers with four goals and two assists. Dobbie finished with a hat trick, but he left the game with a knee injury after scoring his third goal of the game at 11:09 of the third quarter. Dickson had two goals and five assists, while Travis Cornwall (1g, 1a), Snider (1g), Joe Resetarits (4a), Greg Harnett (2a), Mike Carnegie (1a) and Dinsdale (1a) also hit the scoresheet. Dan Dawson paced Rochester’s scoring attack with three goals and eight assists, while Cody Jamieson (3g, 6a), Cory Vitarelli (3g, 3a), Johnny Powless (2g, 3a), Mike Accursi (2g, 3a), Craig Point (1g, 1a), Joel McCready (1g) and Joe Walters (5a) also contributed to the victory. Vinc stopped 44 shots in the Rochester net to record the win, while Poulin made 33 saves in a losing cause. Calgary has an all-time record of 3-4 (2-1 at home, 1-3 on the road) in the regular season against Rochester. The two teams have never met in the playoffs.
DID YOU KNOW?: Prior to facing off against each other three times over the past two seasons, the last time the two teams met was back on April 3, 2010 when the Roughnecks beat the Knighthawks 11-9 in Rochester. Dobbie led the charge offensively for the Riggers with a hat trick and four helpers, while Ranger scored three times and set up three others. This will be the third straight season that the K-Hawks will face the Riggers at the ’Dome. Prior to the 2012 season, the only other time that Rochester made the trip out west to play in Calgary was on April 4, 2009 when the ’Necks ran to a 12-9 victory.
MOUSE’S MUSINGS: Nicknamed ‘Mouse’, Curt Malawsky is in his second season as head coach for the Roughnecks. Malawsky, who is also the assistant general manager, said the Riggers will definitely have their hands full against the powerful Knighthawks on Saturday. “If you don’t play mistake free lacrosse against a championship team like that, you’re going to end up on the short end of the stick,” Malawsky said. “You saw it in the Toronto game, every time that Toronto made a mistake it ended up in the back of their net. It’s very important that we play our systems to the best of our capabilities and hopefully we give them a good go.” Malawsky will be assisted once again this season by Bob McMahon as offence coordinator and Bruce Codd as defence coordinator. It’s the fourth season for McMahon on the Calgary coaching staff, while Codd is in his second season with the ’Necks.
ON THE VERGE: It’s only a matter of time before Poulin becomes the franchise leader for goaltender saves in the regular season for the Roughnecks. Heading into Saturday night’s game, Poulin has made 2,043 saves during his five seasons with the Riggers. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound netminder needs to stop just 75 more shots fired his way to surpass Curtis Palidwor, who finished his career with 2,117 saves in between the pipes for Calgary. Poulin also holds the franchise record for career saves in the post-season with 203, six more than Palidwor.
LOOSE BALL FRENZY: Having scooped up 100 loose balls this season, Snider increased his totals in that category for the Riggers in the regular season to 738 during just his fourth season with Calgary. Snider moved past Kaleb Toth, who finished his career with 661 loose balls during his time with the ’Necks, and into second spot behind Shattler on the franchise leader board. In eight seasons with the Riggers, Shattler has 805 loose balls, while Snider is quickly closing the gap. Snider and Shattler are also neck-and-neck for the franchise record for loose balls in the playoffs. Snider is sitting at 86, while Shattler is six behind with 80.
MILESTONE MOMENTS: Dickson made history on Feb. 8 when he scored while the Riggers were playing a man down in the third quarter of Calgary’s 15-13 road win over the Minnesota Swarm. Dickson is now the franchise leader in all-time short-handed goals during the regular season with 13, one more than Roughnecks legend Tracey Kelusky. … With his 11-point performance against the Stealth last Saturday, Evans surpassed the 600-point plateau. The nine-year NLL veteran has racked up 217 goals to go with 384 assists for 601 points in 132 career regular-season games.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
– Daryl Veltman is just one assist shy of 200.
– Dane Dobbie is three points away from 400.
– Mike Carnegie is six points shy of 50.
– Curtis Dickson needs eight points to reach 200.
– Dobbie also needs just nine assists for 200 and is 13 loose balls away from 300.
– Shawn Evans needs 16 assists to reach 400.