ROCK REMATCH: The Calgary Roughnecks (5-3) will be looking to avenge a season-opening 16-11 setback versus the Toronto Rock (4-4) when the two teams face off for a rematch on Saturday (7 p.m.), this time at the Scotiabank Saddledome. “I’m sure our guys’ memories are not too short that we don’t remember what happened there at the beginning of the season,” said Calgary coach Curt Malawsky. “They stepped on us and they stepped on us real good. We’re hoping that we can put some things together and give them a good go here on Saturday night.” The Rock will face a tough task this weekend since Toronto is also slated to play the Rush in Edmonton on Friday night. “It is a huge weekend for us,” said Toronto general manager Terry Sanderson. “No better way to measure ourselves as to just how we’re progressing with Edmonton and Calgary back-to-back.” Sanderson continued on to say that the Rock look forward to matching up against the Riggers. “We use Calgary as a measuring stick,” Sanderson said. “They’re good. Everybody knows it and you’ve got to compete against the real good teams in the league and we feel we’re one of those.”
EPIC COMEBACK: Seeing Curtis Dickson score two quick goals in the fourth quarter fired up Dane Dobbie. “We give him the ball when he’s hot and he can score. He’s fun to watch,” said Dobbie after scoring three times and adding two assists to lead the ’Necks to a thrilling 11-10 win over the Rochester Knighthawks last Saturday. Dickson and Jeff Shattler each scored twice in the final frame before Dobbie’s hat-trick goal stood up as the game winner to the delight of the 9,207 boisterous fans in attendance at the ’Dome. “The game’s never over until it’s over,” said Dobbie, who surpassed the 400-point plateau with his third point of the game, an assist on a goal by Shattler five minutes into the fourth. Calgary trailed 9-6 after three quarters before Shattler scored twice to set the stage for the thrilling finish. After Dickson notched two goals 19 seconds apart, Dobbie finished off his hat trick to put the ’Necks up by a pair at 11:51 of the fourth. Cody Jamieson scored with 58 seconds left in the game to pull Rochester within a goal, but that’s as close as the K-Hawks would get. Mike Poulin made 39 saves to backstop the Riggers to their third straight win. Shattler also had an assist to finish with a three-point night, while Daryl Veltman (1g, 3a) Karsen Leung (1g, 1a), Garrett McIntosh (1g) and Curtis Manning (1g) also scored. Shawn Evans finished with four helpers. Stephen Keogh led the way for Rochester with a hat trick and three assists, while Jamieson scored twice and set up five others. Joe Walters (2g, 2a), Johnny Powless (2g, 1a), Joel McCready (1g, 4a) and Dan Dawson (4a) also had multiple-point performances, while Rochester goalie Matt Vinc finished with 32 saves.
COMEBACK CUT SHORT: Against the Rock in their season opener in Toronto on Jan. 3, the ’Necks trailed 9-4 at the half and 12-6 after three quarters. The Riggers then scored four of the next five goals to pull within three just past the five minute mark of the final frame. That’s as close as they would get though as the Rock rallied to score three goals, including an empty netter, in the final five minutes of the game. “It was a tough go out in Toronto,” Malawsky said. “They taught us a lesson out there.” Stephan Leblanc had an impressive outing for the Rock as he notched five goals to go with two assists, while Garrett Billings led all scorers with a goal and nine helpers. Rob Hellyer had a hat trick and an assist for the Rock, while Josh Sanderson (2g, 3a), Colin Doyle (2g, 2a), Kasey Beirnes (1g, 3a) and Ethan O’Connor (1g, 2a) also had multiple-point performances. Nick Rose, a former Roughnecks goaltender, played well in the Rock net as he stopped 40 of 51 shots fired his way. Shattler scored four times and set up two others for Calgary, while Evans chipped in with a goal and seven helpers. Dobbie had two goals and an assist, while Veltman (1g, 3a), Dickson (1g, 2a), Matthew Dinsdale (1g, 2a) and Geoff Snider (1g) also scored. Poulin made 45 saves in a losing cause.
ROUGHNECKS VS. ROCK: The Riggers compiled a 0-2 record against the Rock last year, dropping a 13-11 decision to open the season at home, followed by a 17-12 loss on Feb. 15 in Toronto. Evans led the way offensively for Calgary with nine points (3g, 6a). He scored a hat trick and dished two helpers in the first game, before following it up four assists in the rematch. Dickson had two goals and three assists in the season opener, before notching another pair of goals and a single helper in the latter match-up. Veltman was also solid with one goal and six assists in two games, while Dobbie stood out with five goals and two assists in the February game after missing the season opener due to suspension. On the Toronto side of the ball, Billings led the all scorers for both teams. He followed up a four-assist effort in the first game with six goals and five helpers in the second contest, totaling 15 points. Doyle (3g, 9a), Beirnes (4g, 5a), Leblanc (4g, 4a) and Sanderson (4g, 4a) also contributed in the season-series sweep. Poulin went 0-2 against the Rock, while Rose was a perfect 2-0 in the series. Calgary has compiled an all-time regular season record of 9-17 (5-7 at home, 4-10 on the road) against the Rock.
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, was pleased with his team’s come-from-behind performance against the two-time defending NLL champion Knighthawks last weekend. “You look at it and we showed good resiliency being down 5-1, 9-6 and then being able to keep our composure and battle through a real tough game,” Malawsky said. “Rochester’s a very physical team. You don’t get anything for free out there. They make you earn everything you get. We were fortunate enough to jump on a run there near the end of the game. We had Mike Poulin stand real tall for us, plus with our defence late in the game, we weathered the storm against a very good offensive team.” Malawsky is being 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 2,082 saves during his five seasons with the Riggers. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound netminder needs to stop just 36 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.
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 during a 20-9 drubbing of the Vancouver Stealth at home on Feb. 15, Evans surpassed the 600-point plateau. The nine-year NLL veteran has racked up 217 goals to go with 388 assists for 605 points in 133 career regular-season games.
DID YOU KNOW?: Having scooped up 105 loose balls this season, Snider has increased his totals in that category for the Riggers in the regular season to 743 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 collected 806 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.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
– Curtis Dickson needs four points to reach 200.
– Andrew McBride needs to scoop up five loose balls to hit 600.
– Mike Carnegie is six points shy of 50.
– Dane Dobbie needs just seven assists for 200 and is 13 loose balls away from 300.
– Shawn Evans needs 12 assists to reach 400.
– By stopping 36 more shots, Mike Poulin will become the franchise leader in career saves in the regular season, passing the mark previously set by Curtis Palidwor (2,117).