CALGARY, AB — The Saskatchewan Rush fans are ready to pack the SaskTel Centre for Game 2 of the West Division Final.
Expected to be a sell-out crowd, the building will be incredibly loud. The Calgary Roughnecks want to quiet the crowd early in the game.
“You have to try and take them out early,” said captain Mike Carnegie. “I thought that what we did well last week was that when they scored, we scored. We responded. I think controlling the momentum of the game is important. If we can match feet with these guys and match them goal for goal, I think that benefits us in the long-term.”
One way to take the crowd out of the game is to go out and score a bunch of goals.
Another is to play fundamentally strong lacrosse and don’t make any big mistakes. That way, the game will stay close and it will keep the fans from going crazy should the Rush go on a run.
“You’ve got to relax a little bit and make sure that you’re doing the right things. We’ve got to play mistake free early. We can’t go out there and play run and gun and the next thing you know we’re down four and the crowd is jumping down our throat.” COACH
The Roughnecks raised $60,000 for Fort McMurray relief efforts through ticket sales and 50-50 proceeds from Game 1 of the West Final.
Also, Riggers fans generously contributed over 300 pounds in food donations to the Calgary Food Bank to support Fort McMurray-area evacuees.
“Amazing.” declared coach Curt Malawsky.
“I thought it was unbelievable that the organization was able to give numbers of the tickets and the 50-50, the food bank, and the free entrance for the Fort McMurray people, I thought that was phenomenal.”
The opportunity to raise funds for Fort McMurray would not have been possible without a huge win over the Colorado Mammoth in the West Division Semi-Final.
And the team knew it.
“It was something we talked about in Denver,” Malawsky said. “It was a sidebar for us. We knew if we could get that win down there, we could help a lot of people in Alberta. We were pretty excited to win the game but have an opportunity to do some good.”
Should the Roughnecks miss a chance to take home some hardware, they can be proud of their season for more than just their work on the floor.
“It’s something that, when this season is done, trophies are handed out and the lights are off, it’s something we can look back on and be proud of,” admitted goaltender Mike Poulin.
10 minutes to decide your fate.
Not the ideal solution for everyone, but it’s the nature of the NLL.
Should Calgary advance to the tie-breaker on Saturday, they know first hand how tough it can be. They have played in three such games over the last two seasons (Edmonton 2014, Rochester 2014, Edmonton 2015).
“Personally, I’ve gone through three of them,” Poulin said. “We’ve won one and lost two. They can be mentally tough. You get a goal and you think you’re on cloud nine. We were up 1-0 on these guys last year and then bang, bang, bang. They’re hard to prepare for.”
That experience could be to their benefit, though.
They’ve been able to look back at those experiences and figure out what they did right and wrong and how they can get it right should the opportunity arise tomorrow night.
“You just have to roll all of your lines, play at a high level, and valuing the ball matters so much more,” Carnegie explained. “The offence needs to be getting off of the floor on time, just the little things need to happen. Your game plan might change a bit, but you’ve only got a couple minutes to sort things out. You go with what worked and try to transfer that over.”
Since it would mean a win in Game 2, coach Malawsky wouldn’t mind experiencing another tie-breaker.
“This year I would say that we’re the underdog, so I don’t mind getting to the mini-game,” Malawsky said.
“No one is giving us a chance,” stated Malawsky. “No one ever did. This was rebuild year for us and they didn’t expect us to be where we were. We had no chance to win in Colorado and we did. Apparently we have no chance to win tomorrow night, so we’ll go see what happens.”