CALGARY, AB — Jeff Shattler had a big game to lead the Calgary Roughnecks to their first win of 2016.
Shattler scored twice in the second quarter and then completed his hat trick in the third as the Roughnecks (1-2) rallied for a 9-8 win over the New England Black Wolves (1-1) at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday night.
“It was a team win from the goalies to the defence to the offence,” said Shattler, who also had two assists for a five-point outing. “It was a long trip to get here. Losing two in a row, we didn’t want to repeat what happened last year (when the Roughnecks started with an 0-6 record). We put everything on the line – played with desperation, played like a playoff game and we came out with the W.”
Calgary coach Curt Malawsky commended Shattler for leading the way against the Black Wolves, who started their season last Saturday with a convincing 17-7 road win over the Vancouver Stealth.
“Shatts has been great all year,” said Malawsky. “Right from the start of training camp, he came in in great, great shape. He said he’s got a new lease on life and he’s a really big part of our offence. We’re glad he’s doing what he’s doing because he’s a big part of our team and our organization.”
Curtis Dickson added two goals and an assist for the ’Necks, while goalie Frankie Scigliano was solid in between the pipes once again as he stopped 35 of 43 shots fired his way.
“He had some really big saves,” said Shattler. “He’s a good young goalie and he’s going to have a lot of great years in this league. I think he’s going to carry us a couple games and we’re going to help him out a couple games.”
Rookie Kellen LeClair scored the first goal of his National Lacrosse League career as the Riggers rallied from a 2-1 deficit to score five times in the second quarter and three more in the third to build up a 9-4 lead.
“We got a little sloppy early in the game and we buckled back down into our fundamentals and used our athleticism with our young guys to leg the ball out,” said Malawsky. “It was good to see that we got rewarded for our hard work.”
New England battled back to score four straight goals, including the second of the night for Sheldon Burns with 1/10th of a second left in regulation to pull the Black Wolves within one, but that’s as close as they would get.
“When you think you have some leeway and they go out and score a couple quick ones, it really puts you back on your heels,” said Shattler, who was happy the Riggers were able to hang on for the victory. “It was amazing. It was just a great feeling to win our first game of the NLL season.”
Wesley Berg and Dane Dobbie had a goal and two assists each for Calgary, while Tyler Digby scored once and set up another.
Both Burns and Pat Saunders finished with two goals and an assist for the Black Wolves, while Kevin Buchanan also scored twice. Brett Bucktooth had a goal and an assist, while the Riggers held former teammate Shawn Evans, who was traded to the Black Wolves in the off-season, to just one goal.
“We’re all buddies, but when you go on the floor we play to win and it doesn’t matter who’s on the other team,” said Shattler.
New England goalie Evan Kirk kept his team in the game with 46 saves.
Following a week off, the Roughnecks will return home on Saturday, Jan. 30 (7 p.m.) to play the Stealth at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
“We’re a young team and we’re just trying to get better game by game,” said Shattler. “Hopefully against Vancouver in two weeks we’re going to be ready to go and we can put up bigger numbers and our defence is going to hold them to under 10.”