CALGARY, AB — The Calgary Roughnecks are facing back-to-backs.
They will travel to Saskatoon to face the Rush on Friday and before returning to Scotiabank Saddledome for a battle with the Georgia Swarm on Saturday.
The tough weekend will test the depth of the Roughnecks.
“We’ve got a deep roster,” Calgary coach Curt Malawsky said. “We’ve got some guys on the practice roster that are going to be up on the roster at some point. That’s a big thing, we’ve got some depth this year.”
Calgary’s practice roster includes veteran face-off specialist Bob Snider, former Rush lefty Tyler Melnyk, and two rookies in Christian Del Bianco and Patrick O’Meara.
Snider has already seen floor time with the Roughnecks this season, playing against the Buffalo Bandits and the New England Black Wolves. In those contests, he was 12-20 on the draw with 10 loose balls.
Melnyk, signed to the practice roster just before the start of the season, has not yet seen any playing time with Calgary. In 2015 with Edmonton, the lefty forward recorded six goals and 11 points in four games.
O’Meara spent all of 2015 on the Roughnecks practice roster and has found himself in the same role this season.
Del Bianco, a rookie, is the third goalie on the roster and the least likely to see time this weekend with Frankie Scigliano and Mike Poulin ahead of him on the depth chart.
In addition to the fresh legs on their practice roster, the Roughnecks had Peter McFetridge and Brandon Goodwin as healthy scratches in Calgary’s win over the Vancouver Stealth on Saturday.
McFetridge officially came off of the IR last weekend and was placed on the active roster. However, he was a healthy scratch in the contest. Goodwin experienced a very similar situation, although he was coming off of the PUP.
McFetridge drew into 14 games in 2015, registering two goals and 5 points, and scooping 28 loose balls. The 6’3” transition player has been a regular with the Roughnecks since 2011.
Goodwin, a sophomore, spent the 2015 season with Buffalo. He was traded to Calgary prior to the season in exchange for rookie Mitch de Snoo. He played in the Roughnecks home opener, where he caused a turnover that resulted in the games opening goal by Dan MacRae.
Both are likely to draw in for at least one game this weekend and they both represent quality players with fresh legs.
“We’ve got a young team and sometimes with a young team, those back to backs don’t hurt you as much,” Malawsky said. “We’re going to try to get everyone involved and it’s going to be a big trip for our group going on the road. Coming back to the ‘Dome for the second half of the back to back is massive, back to our familiar confines.”
With five players who could be substituted into the line-up in a variety of roles, the Roughnecks will have the depth to feel comfortable with whatever line-ups they throw out on the floor this weekend.