Both the Calgary Roughnecks and Edmonton Rush have added motivation heading into their game against each other on Sunday afternoon (2 p.m.) in Alberta’s capital city.
While the Roughnecks (1-7) suffered a 12-11 road setback to the Rochester Knighthawks last Saturday, the Rush (4-3) lost 16-15 in overtime one night earlier in Toronto to the Rock.
“It’s going to be two teams coming off of two tough losses,” said Calgary coach Curt Malawsky. “They got beat in overtime and we lost a tight one by a goal. It’s going to be two hungry teams. It’s the Battle of Alberta. We always have tough games against them. I’m sure they’re looking forward to seeing us as much as we’re looking forward to seeing them.”
Of Calgary’s seven setbacks this season, four of them have been by just one goal including two in overtime.
“The one goal games, we were on the other end of them last year and we’re not on the right end of them this year,” said Malawsky, who was proud of how his team battled back from a 7-1 deficit against the Knighthawks to eventually tie the game at 11-11. “We’re just going to continue to get better. Outside of the start of the game, I thought we played better (against Rochester) than we did last week (during a 16-13 win at home against the Vancouver Stealth). That’s what we’re focusing on – on the good stuff.”
After last Saturday’s game, Malawsky told his players how proud he and the coaching staff are of them and told them to keep their heads up high.
“It’s tough to try to push the positive message, but I just said, ‘Go watch the tape, watch the video’,” Malawsky said. “The video’s going to show you guys how hard you competed, how hard you battled and we’re right there.”
Like Malawsky, Rush coach and general manager Derek Keenan said his squad wants to put their one-goal loss behind them and focus at the task at hand on Sunday.
“We’re looking forward to it,” said Keenan, who commended Rush forward Zack Greer for his five-goal, three-assist performance against the Rock last week. “He’s just continually gotten better in his career. He’s shooting the ball well, moving well without the ball, catching it in traffic and finishing his opportunities. He’s a dangerous player when he has his feet moving. I think that’s one thing he’s learned over the last couple years is to try to constantly move and be active. When he does that he’s a pretty dangerous player.”
“We’re just going to continue to work on the positives and continue to strive forward because we’re not going to waste any energy on the negative side of it,” Malawsky said. “We’re going to make some tweaks that need to be tweaked. We’re going to build on the positives. This group believes in each other and we believe in them. It’s a long season. We can only go into what’s in front of us and that’s Edmonton on Sunday.”
DID YOU KNOW?
The last time the two teams met on Jan. 24 at the Scotiabank Saddledome, Edmonton’s leading scorer Mark Mathews led all players with a hat trick and five helpers. Riley Loewen and Jarrett Davis had three goals and two assist each for the Rush, while Curtis Dickson recorded a hat trick for the Riggers.
PLAYER PROFILE – #3 Dan MacRae
Height & weight: 6-1, 205
Birthdate: July 17, 1988
Hometown: Oakville, Ont.
Fast fact: He was Calgary’s first-round selection, sixth overall, in the 2010 NLL Entry Draft.
Stat attack: In 16 regular-season games last season, MacRae set a career high with seven goals to go with eight assists, which tied his previous best he set back in 2012.
Occupation: Recruitment consultant for Michael Page
Family ties: Younger brother Luke Pilcher plays minor lacrosse in Oakville.
Notable quotable: “He’s a goal scorer,” MacRae said of his 14-year-old brother. “He’s got better hands than his brother already.”