DO OR DIE
With playoffs on the line, there is plenty of pressure in this weekend’s game.
However, that won’t bother the Calgary Roughnecks.
Being a veteran team who have seen these types of situations many times throughout their careers, they know what they need to do.
“This whole season has been an up and down season for us,” said Roughnecks forward Daryl Veltman. “We’ve had nine one-goal games. This year there wasn’t a lot of changes from last year. We took it all the way to the finals and we were a minute away from winning that. We know what it takes to win. We know in those tough situations we can persevere and get through those circumstances and I think tomorrow night we are going to show that.”
That experience was in key in helping the team stay focused and unfazed during a slow start to the season. Having dealt with adversity in the past, they understood how to deal with the failure and build off of it.
“I think you draw on the experiences that you had in the past. We said after the championship game how this will make you better,” said Roughnecks coach Curt Malawsky. “Not many of the guys really believed that, but I believe we will be better for it now. I know that playoff stretch last year and the playoff run, unfortunately we didn’t win, but we learned a lot of invaluable lessons. We’re a veteran team and we kept the group together for a reason and it’s for games like this.”
The team has rebounded well throughout the season and has put themselves in a great situation to make the playoffs and make some noise.
Shawn Evans already broke the NLL single-season points record, but he is looking to break another. In fact, two of his team mates are also close to breaking records.
Evans is only three assists shy of drawing even with Garrett Billings’ single-season assists record (82), Dane Dobbie is five goals away from tying Kaleb Toth’s Roughnecks all-time goal record (274), and Curtis Manning is only two caused turnovers shy of Geoff Snider’s Roughnecks single-season record (27).
“I’m just focused on the game at hand,” said star forward Shawn Evans. “I know a few games back that the points were in my head, but that’s over and done now. If it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”
However, it’s the playoffs, not the records that are on the players’ minds.
“Most important thing is getting that win and getting into the playoffs,” Evans said.
That’s not to say that the players don’t want to set the records. Setting these team and league records would be an honour for them.
The Langley Events Center will be rocking on Saturday night.
With the Roughnecks and Stealth battling in a highly anticipated game to determine who will make the playoffs, it is expected to have the feel of a playoff game.
“This is a playoff game for us,” said Roughnecks captain Andrew McBride. “We’re going to have to rely on our expertise and experience. We need to be ready to go and fire it up in front of a hostile crowd here in Vancouver.”
Calgary is expecting the 5,276 seats in the LEC to be filled with excited Vancouver fans.
However, the Roughnecks will be aiming to quiet them down early with a strong start.
“If you don’t win you’re going home and packing your locker up,” Evans said. “We don’t want to do that. We had two weeks off, we had our break. We’re ready to continue the season. We had a nice practice today, getting prepared for Vancouver tomorrow, we’re going to be ready to go. I think we’re going to come out ready and be hot.”