For the first time in their history, the Roughnecks will play a home-and-home series against the Knighthawks.
For the first time in their history, the Calgary Roughnecks will play a home-and-home series against the Rochester Knighthawks. The Roughnecks (10-3) will play host to the Knighthawks (5-7) this Friday at the Scotiabank Saddledome (7 p.m.) before the two teams will meet up again for a rematch in Rochester at the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial.
“Rochester’s coming in and they’ve got a high-powered offence ... a lot of talented ball players that are going to challenge our D and they’ve got a phenomenal goalie,” said Calgary coach Dave Pym. “You can’t say enough about their defence as well. They’re solid and athletic.”
The Riggers beat the Minnesota Swarm 15-10 last Friday night on the road before they downed the Washington Stealth 13-11 at home the next night to run their winning streak to five straight games. Meanwhile, the Knighthawks are looking to rebound after suffering a 16-12 loss at home to the Colorado Mammoth on Saturday. It was Rochester’s second straight setback.
ROUGHNECKS VS. KNIGHTHAWKS
This will be the first meeting between the two teams since April 3, 2010 when the Roughnecks beat the Knighthawks 11-9 in Rochester. Dane Dobbie led the charge offensively for the Riggers with a hat trick and four helpers, while Scott Ranger scored three times and set up three others. Jeff Shattler also had a good game for Calgary with a goal and four assists.
Rochester’s current lineup looks nothing like the one that faced off against Calgary two seasons ago when Shawn Williams (now with the Edmonton rush) led the Knighthawk attack with four goals and an assist. John Grant Jr., who currently leads the NLL in scoring while playing for the Mammoth, had two goals and an assist. Shawn Evans, who the Roughnecks acquired from the Knighthawks in the off-season, set up three goals for Rochester the last time the two teams faced each other.
The only other time that the Knighthawks have made the trip out west to Calgary to play at the Scotiabank Saddledome was on April 4, 2009 when the ’Necks ran to a 12-9 victory. Calgary has an all-time record of 2-2 (1-0 at home, 1-2 on the road) in the regular season against Rochester. The two teams have never met in the playoffs.
Ranger had four goals and an assist to lead the Roughnecks to a 13-11 win over the Washington Stealth in front of 8,203 fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome last Saturday.
“Personally I had a bit of a bad game last night (against the Swarm) and I knew it was kind of on me so I wanted to step up and show the boys that I was here for them,” Ranger said. “I was fortunate to do that.”
Pym commended Ranger for his clutch performance against the Stealth.“To rebound and do what he did tonight shows the kind of professional that he is in wanting to be a special player and he definitely is for us,” Pym said.
Dane Dobbie had three goals and four assists to help the Roughnecks move into a tie for top spot in the National Lacrosse League with the Colorado Mammoth. The win also helped the Riggers clinch home-field advantage for at least the first round of the NLL playoffs. Shattler recorded his second straight hat trick to go with an assist, Evans chipped in with a goal and two assists, while Curtis Dickson and Peter McFetridge each scored once. Daryl Veltman set up six goals, while Cory Conway had four assists.
Mike Poulin made 42 saves in the Calgary net to improve his record this season to 9-3.
With five unanswered goals in the fourth quarter, the Roughnecks earned a hard-fought 15-10 road triumph over the Minnesota Swarm last Friday. Calgary built up a 10-7 lead mid way through the third quarter before Minnesota rallied to tie the game heading into the final frame. The Riggers then outscored the Swarm 5-0 in the fourth quarter to disappoint the crowd of 8,510 fans at the Xcel Energy Centre in St. Paul, MN.
“Just another game where I think I got about a half a head of grey hair,” said Pym.
Shattler had a hat trick to go with three helpers to lead the Roughnecks to victory. Geoff Snider also had a hat trick to go with two helpers, Curtis Dickson scored three times and added an assist, while Evans had a goal and three helpers.
“All in all it was just an awesome team effort,” Snider said.
With his four points, Dickson reached the 100-point mark in just his second season in the NLL.
Ranger (1g, 2a), Veltman (1g, 2a), Conway (1g, 2a), Dobbie (1g, 1a), Travis Cornwall (1g, 1a), Scott Carnegie (2a) and McFetridge (2a) also had multiple-point performances against the Swarm.
“You see how deep our team is and I think it’s just a testament to how tight our locker room is,” Snider said. “Guys share the ball and guys want to see other guys have success. It’s pretty exciting when you can get everybody involved.”
Poulin made 39 saves to pick up the win over Minnesota.
DID YOU KNOW?: For three straight games, at least three Calgary players have recorded hat tricks for the Roughnecks. In Calgary’s 17-6 win over the Buffalo Bandits at home on March 24, Dobbie had a hat trick and three helpers, Ranger scored three times and set up another, while Dickson also had a three-goal performance to go with one assist. During Calgary’s 15-10 road win over Minnesota last Friday, Shattler had a hat trick to go with three helpers, Snider scored three times and set up two others, while Dickson had his second straight three-goal performance to go with an assist. Ranger then scored four times and had an assist to lead the Riggers to a 13-11 win over Washington at home the next night. Dobbie had three goals and four helpers, while Shattler recorded his second straight hat trick to go with an assist.
According to Pym, who took over as the fifth head coach in Roughnecks’ history prior to the 2010 season, the recent hat-trick barrage has been a result of a balanced attack.
“It says that we have a balanced offence and if you shut the left side down, our right side’s going to sting you and if you shut the right side down our lefts are going to sting you,” Pym said. “The guy with the hot stick we’ll go to him. The guys are continuing to bury. It’s a compliment to the system that we’re playing and the effort that they’re making out there to make each other better.”
Once again this season, Pym is being assisted by Curt Malawsky as offence coordinator and Bob McMahon as defence coordinator. It’s the third season for Malawsky on the Calgary coaching staff, while McMahon is back for his second year.
On March 19, the Roughnecks traded goaltender Nick Rose and a conditional second-round selection in the 2014 NLL Entry Draft to the Toronto Rock in exchange for Toronto’s first-round pick in the 2014 NLL Entry Draft.
“As an organization we are committed to continuing to build our team through draft picks,” commented Calgary General Manager Mike Board. “Having three goalies made it difficult to provide necessary playing time to develop our younger talent. This trade allows us to commit to our starter, Mike Poulin, and rookie Frankie Scigliano heading down the stretch.”
The Roughnecks acquired Rose in the first round (seventh overall) of the 2011 Boston Blazers Dispersal Draft. This season the Orangeville, Ontario, native, dressed for five games with Calgary and registered 17 saves in two relief appearances for a total of just under 33 minutes played. In his first game with the Rock on March 24 in Rochester, Rose held the Knighthawks scoreless for almost 30 minutes at one point and finished with 28 saves on 35 shots to lead Toronto to a 13-7 win. For his efforts, Rose was named as the NLL’s Defensive Player of the Week.
The Riggers have added goaltender Matt King and defenceman Matt Leveque to the practice roster. King, a native of Victoria, British Columbia, previously played four seasons with the Roughnecks and was part of the 2004 and 2009 championship squads.
In 2009, King dressed for all 16 regular season games plus all three playoff contests, boasting seven regular season wins and three post-season victories to help earn Calgary the Champion’s Cup.
The 31-year-old was recently released by the Washington Stealth where he dressed for three games this season. Leveque, a resident of Langley, British Columbia, was released by the Colorado Mammoth earlier this season. During the summer, Leveque was the captain of the Langley Thunder who won the 2011 Western Lacrosse Association championship and hosted the 2011 Mann Cup.
Captain Andrew McBride leads a group of 18 returning vets on Calgary’s roster this year.
The Roughnecks are also pleased to welcome back Jeff Shattler, Dane Dobbie, Scott Ranger, Curtis Dickson, Cory Conway, Daryl Veltman and Kaleb Toth at forward.
Joining McBride on defence are the brother tandems of Mike and Scott Carnegie and Jon and Greg Harnett (the latter of whom is a rookie), along with Mike Kilby and Dan MacRae.
Veteran Ryan McNish has also played two games this season with the Riggers on defence.
Transition players Nolan Heavenor, Peter McFetridge, Curtis Manning and Geoff Snider are also back in the fold along with Mike Poulin in goal.
The Roughnecks also acquired forward Shawn Evans from the Rochester Knighthawks in the offseason and the veteran forward has fit in nicely.
Three of Calgary’s five picks from the 2011 NLL Entry Draft also earn spots on this year’s roster: transition player Travis Cornwall (first round, seventh overall), defenceman Greg Harnett (second round, 11th overall) and goalie Frankie Scigliano (second round, 18th overall).
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
- Scott Ranger needs to play one more games to reach 100.
- Nolan Heavenor is seven points away from reaching the 100 plateau in his seventh season in the NLL.
- Kaleb Toth is two assists shy of 400. Toth also needs just five more loose balls to reach 800.
- In his sixth NLL campaign, Geoff Snider needs just four points to reach 200.
- Daryl Veltman needs to score 11 more times to hit the 100-goal mark.
- Jeff Shattler, a veteran of six seasons with the Roughnecks, is eight points shy of 300.