SHOWCASE WEEKEND: For the first time ever, the Calgary Roughnecks will play a pre-season game at the Scotiabank Saddledome when they host the Edmonton Rush this Saturday (7 p.m.). “That will be awesome playing against a good Edmonton team,” said returning forward Curtis Dickson. “Hopefully we can get quite a few fans out there and it will be good to get a real good game situation out there before the season starts up.” The Roughnecks Showcase Weekend will continue on Sunday with a Select-a-Seat event, giving fans the chance to choose from the best available seat locations for the 2015 NLL season, starting at 10 a.m., and Train Like A Pro workshops, providing 150 minor lacrosse players with the opportunity to get on the turf to practise their lacrosse skills. Calgary’s home opener is set for Saturday, Jan. 3 when the Roughnecks host the Vancouver Stealth at the Saddledome (7 p.m.).
ROUGHNECKS VS. RUSH: The Roughnecks went 1-3 against the Rush in the 2014 regular season. The Riggers opened the season series between the two squads on Jan. 17 in Edmonton with a 15-8 setback to the Rush. Two months later on March 14, the Rush also prevailed 15-7 over the ’Necks, this time at the Saddledome. The two teams wrapped up their four-game set with a home-and-home series in mid-April. After Edmonton downed Calgary 15-11 on April 12 at the ’Dome, the Riggers responded with a 14-13 overtime triumph a week later at Rexall Place as Dickson scored his seventh goal of the contest in the extra session to avert a season sweep at the hands of their northern rivals. After failing to get on the scoresheet in the first game of the season series against Edmonton, Dickson fired 12 goals and added four assists in the remaining three contests. Dane Dobbie paced Calgary’s scoring attack against the Rush with seven goals and 10 helpers in the four-game set, while Shawn Evans (4g, 10a), Daryl Veltman (1g, 12a) and Jeff Shattler (7g, 5a) also reached double figures. Curtis Knight led all Rush scorers with 12 goals and eight helpers against Calgary in the regular season, while Mark Matthews was also dangerous as he scored 11 times and set up seven others. Robert Church had points in all four games for the Rush as he finished with six goals and nine helpers, while Chris Corbeil (9g, 5a), Cory Conway (2g, 13a) and Jarrett Davis (3g, 9a) also surpassed the 10-point plateau. While the Rush won the season series against the Riggers, Calgary has compiled an all-time record of 24-8 (9-5 at home, 15-3 on the road) against Edmonton in the regular season.
A LOOK BACK: Led by the offensive exploits of Evans and Dobbie, the Roughnecks finished second in the NLL’s West Division with a 12-6 record. Evans finished second in the league with 105 points (26g, 79a) behind NLL MVP Cody Jamieson of the Rochester Knighthawks, who edged him out by just three points (36g, 72a). Meanwhile, Dobbie led the league with 51 goals, which also set a new franchise record. Dobbie also chipped in with 39 assists to finish with a career-best 90 points. Shattler also set a career high with 84 points (35g, 49a) as did Dickson, who racked up 72 points (44g, 28a). Veltman (20g, 41a), Geoff Snider (17g, 16a) and rookie Karsen Leung (11g, 18a) also all reached double digits in both goals and assists. In net, Mike Poulin was once again a workhorse for the Riggers as he compiled a 12-5 record to go with an 11.45 goals against average and a .770 save percentage.
DOMINANT DOBBIE: Dobbie’s three-goal performance during a 14-8 road win for Calgary against the Vancouver Stealth 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. “It’s nice to get three goals and set that (record), but it has a lot to do with our offence and guys moving the ball and finding me when I was open,” Dobbie said.
REMARKABLE PLAYOFF RUN: In the opening round of the playoffs on May 3, the Roughnecks hosted the Colorado Mammoth and advanced due to a thrilling 16-15 overtime win. Evans scored at 1:23 of extra session to finish the game with four goals and five assists. Dobbie also scored four times and added four assists, while Dickson had a hat trick and three helpers. Shattler scored twice and set up two others, while Snider (2g) and Veltman (1g, 6a) also scored. The Riggers then punched their ticket to the Champion’s Cup final series by virtue of a 2-1 win in a 10-minute tiebreaker game against the Rush on May 16 in Edmonton at Rexall Place. The Rush, which lost Game 1 of the West Final 12-11 in overtime in Calgary on May 10, forced the mini-game after edging the Roughnecks 15-13 in Game 2 at home six days later. Evans scored twice before the three-minute mark of the mini-game to give the ’Necks an early 2-0 lead before Zack Greer replied for Edmonton to pull the Rush within a goal. Poulin stood his ground to stop nine of 10 shots he faced in the tiebreaker game to preserve the victory for the Riggers.
OH, SO CLOSE: After beating the Knighthawks 10-7 at home on May 24, the Roughnecks needed just one more victory to capture their first NLL title since 2009. The K-hawks had other ideas though as they won Game 2 by a score of 16-10 at Rochester’s Blue Cross Arena on May 31 before also prevailing 3-2 in the 10-minute tiebreaker game to make history by becoming the first NLL team to win three straight league titles. “It’s tough, obviously coming into this game up one,” said Calgary forward Curtis Dickson, who followed up a hat trick and three helpers in Game 2 with another goal in the tiebreaker game. “It’s a game of runs. Obviously they went on more than we did. That’s what championship teams do. They win the big games and score the big goals when it matters.” Craig Point scored twice, including the game-winning goal with 58.5 seconds remaining, while Joe Walters had a goal and an assist in the mini-game. Rochester goalie Matt Vinc made 38 saves in Game 2 and then stopped seven of nine shots he faced in the tiebreaker game. Shawn Evans and Curtis Dickson scored to put the Riggers up 2-0 in the mini-game, before Rochester rallied with three straight goals to deny Calgary’s Cup quest. Mike Poulin stopped eight of 11 shots he faced in the tiebreaker game.
SCORING BARRAGE: Evans led all players in the 2014 NLL playoffs with 31 points on 13 goals and 18 assists. In fact, the Roughnecks boasted five of the top post-season scorers. Dickson led all players with 14 goals to go with 14 more assists to finish second in the playoff scoring race behind Evans and six points ahead of Jamieson, who tallied nine goals to go with 13 helpers. Shattler (9g, 12a), Dobbie (12g, 8a) and Veltman (5g, 14a) finished right behind Jamieson in fourth, fifth and sixth spots respectively.
RIGGERS RECEIVE ACCOLADES: Evans, who’s currently on the Physically Unable to Perform list, was the lone Roughneck to be named to the 2014 NLL All-Pro First Team. Joining him on the team at forward were Jamieson as well as Garrett Billings of the Toronto Rock. Transition player Jordan MacIntosh of the Minnesota Swarm were also named to the All-Pro First Team as were defenceman Kyle Rubisch of the Edmonton Rush and Rochester goalie Matt Vinc. Dobbie and Dickson were named to the NLL All-Pro Second Team along with Mammoth forward Adam Jones, transition stalwart Brodie Merrill of the Philadelphia Wings and a pair of Rush players in defenceman Chris Corbeil and goalie Aaron Bold. Meanwhile, Leung was named to the 2014 NLL All-Rookie Team along with Logan Schuss (Swarm), Robert Church (Rush), Tyler Digby (Stealth), Garrett Thul (Wings) and Dillon Ward (Mammoth).
DID YOU KNOW?: The NLL named John Bean, Calgary Roughnecks Governor and Chief Operating Officer of the Calgary Sports & Entertainment Corporation, the Executive of the Year at the 2014 NLL Season Awards Ceremony held on Sept. 21 at Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville, Ontario. “On behalf of the Calgary Roughnecks, I am honoured to receive this award in recognition of our accomplishments last season,” Bean said. As a member of the NLL Board of Governors, Bean continues to assist the league and all its partners by focusing the NLL and its member teams on the current financial model. In addition, Bean serves as a member and chairman of the NLL Audit Finance Committee. Bean was an instrumental member of the rebuild effort at the Saddledome and oversaw the reconstruction of the entire event level following the devastating Alberta floods of 2013.