The Roughnecks will attempt to sweep the home-and-home series vs the Knighthawks on the road this Saturday.
After edging the Rochester Knighthawks 15-14 at home last Friday, the Calgary Roughnecks will attempt to sweep the home-and-home series on the road this Saturday. If the Roughnecks (11-3) can beat the Knighthawks (5-8) at the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial in Rochester, Calgary will set a new franchise record with seven wins in a row. It won’t be easy though as the K-Hawks battled back from a six-goal deficit last weekend to make things interesting in Calgary.
“What Rochester was doing in the second half forced us to make some changes that maybe took some time or didn’t occur as early as we would have liked,” Pym said. “It showed some areas where we need to get better, so we’ll take the positives out of all of it and hopefully employ it this weekend.”
Playing against his former team in front of 9,806 fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome last Friday, Shawn Evans led the way offensively for the Riggers against the K-Hawks with a hat trick and six assists.
“It feels great,” said Evans, who was acquired from Rochester in the off-season in a deal that sent the fifth overall pick in the 2011 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft the other way. “Definitely I had mixed emotions going into that game. Thank god that we came out with the win. They battled back hard, but we stuck together. Good teams find a way to win.”
For his efforts, Evans was chosen as Offensive Player of the Week. The 25-year-old Peterborough, Ont. native also won the award back in Week 10. Having already played once against his old team, Evans said that he should be able to keep his emotions in check this weekend when he makes his return to Rochester. “We’ve got one game under our belts,” he said. “I think the emotions will be a little bit better and I think we’ll just go in there and play our game and play like we have been.”
Dane Dobbie scored four goals against Rochester for the ’Necks, who moved into sole possession of first place overall in the NLL past the idle Colorado Mammoth (10-3).
“Guys like Dane Dobbie took an absolute pounding in the middle of the floor and kept going back and scoring big goals,” Pym said. Jeff Shattler (2g, 4a), Curtis Dickson (2g, 2a), Scott Ranger (2g, 2a), and Daryl Veltman (1g, 3a) also had strong performances for the Riggers. Travis Cornwall also scored, while defenceman Scott Carnegie set a career high for points in a game with three assists.
“He’s elevated his game (over) the last three and was outstanding for us on that back end tonight,” said Pym of Carnegie. Mike Poulin made 47 saves in the Calgary net, none more important than when he stood his ground to stop an over-the-shoulder shot by Rochester forward Cory Vitarelli in the game’s dying seconds. “That series of saves that he made at the end there, that’s just all-star quality,” Pym said.
Johnny Powless, who the K-Hawks chose with the pick they acquired when they sent Evans to Calgary, led Rochester with three goals and four assists. Stephen Keogh also had a hat trick to go with three assists, while Cody Jamieson scored twice and set up three others for the K-Hawks. Mike Accursi (2g, 2a), Vitarelli (2g), Craig Point (1g, 2a) and Ryan Cousins (1g) also got in on the action. Rochester goalie Matt Vinc stopped 38-of-52 shots he faced, while Jake Henhawk made a brief appearance in net and allowed one goal on one shot.
According to Pym, who took over as the fifth head coach in Roughnecks’ history prior to the 2010 season, the Roughnecks will definitely be prepared to face a Rochester team that will be out for revenge this weekend.
“Rochester took full advantage of us in the second half in particular on that front, so it’s an area that has been addressed and will be addressed, and I’m sure we’ll be better at controlling that on Saturday,” Pym said. 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.
ROUGHNECKS VS. KNIGHTHAWKS
Prior to this year’s home-and-home set, the last time the two teams faced off against each other was back on April 3, 2010 when the Roughnecks beat the Knighthawks 11-9 in Rochester. Dobbie led the charge offensively for the Riggers with a hat trick and four helpers, while Ranger scored three times and set up three others. 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. Evans set up three goals while playing 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 3-2 (2-0 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 on March 31.
“Personally I had a bit of a bad game (the previous night against the Minnesota 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.” Dobbie had three goals and four assists to help 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 Dickson and Peter McFetridge each scored once. Veltman set up six goals, while Cory Conway had four assists. Poulin made 42 saves for the win.
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.
The Roughnecks have added goaltender Matt King and defenceman Matt Leveque to the practice roster. King, a native of Victoria, B.C., previously played four seasons with the Riggers 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.
Earlier this season, the 31-year-old was released by Washington where he dressed for three games. Leveque, a resident of Langley, B.C., was released by Colorado earlier this year. 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 off-season 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
- Jeff Shattler, a veteran of six seasons with the Roughnecks, is two points shy of 300.
- Kaleb Toth is two assists shy of 400. Toth also needs just four more loose balls to reach 800.
- In his sixth NLL campaign, Geoff Snider needs just four points to reach 200.
- Nolan Heavenor is seven points away from reaching the 100 plateau in his seventh season in the NLL
- Daryl Veltman needs to score 10 more times to hit the 100-goal mark.