The Roughnecks rally falls short as they suffer first road setback of the season
The Calgary Roughnecks suffered their first setback on the road this season on Saturday night in Rochester.
Looking to set a new franchise record with their seventh straight win, the Roughnecks (11-4) built up a 5-2 lead over the Rochester Knighthawks at the Blue Cross Arena.
The Knighthawks (6-8), who lost 15-14 in Calgary to the Riggers last weekend, then responded with six unanswered goals to take the lead and held on for a 14-12 victory.
“It’s just one of those things where they got on the momentum run and we allowed it,” said Calgary coach Dave Pym. “We got away from what causes us to be successful in terms of our systems. When one guy takes a shift off then all of a sudden the next guy does.”
For the second straight game, Johnny Powless led the Rochester attack with a hat trick and four assists, while rookie forward Stephen Keogh also had a three-goal game to go with three helpers.
“You’ve got to give Rochester credit,” said Calgary captain Andrew McBride. “I thought they came out and played well. At the same time, I felt we weren’t ready to play. We’ve got to come to the rink every time, especially down the stretch here, and treat it like a playoff game.”
While McBride gave credit to the offence for making a game of it with four straight goals in the fourth quarter, the veteran Calgary rearguard admitted that the defence didn’t play well enough to win.
“We were too hesitant,” McBride said. “We were kind of worried about what they were going to do instead of dictating the pace. That’s when we’re successful is when we’re dictating the flow of the game and the pace.”
Dane Dobbie counted four goals for the ’Necks, while Shawn Evans and Jeff Shattler both scored twice and set up four others. For Evans, it marked his return to Rochester since being acquired by the Roughnecks in an off-season trade.
Curtis Dickson had two goals and an assist for Calgary, Travis Cornwall and Mike Carnegie also scored, while Daryl Veltman chipped in with four assists.
With goalie Mike Poulin out of the lineup nursing a lower-body injury, Frankie Scigliano made his first-ever National Lacrosse League start and made 38 saves in a losing cause.
“I thought that (Scigliano) made some sensational saves and we actually hung him out to dry on a number of the goals,” said Pym, while noting that he and the coaching staff are “erring on the side of caution” in regards to Poulin’s injury. “We just want to make sure that he’s 100 per cent healthy before we put him back in between the pipes.”
Cory Vitarelli also had a hat trick for the K-Hawks, while Mike Accursi (2g, 4a), Alexander-Kedoh Hill (2g, 1a) and Cody Jamieson (1g, 4a) also had strong games for Rochester. Matt Vinc made 41 saves in the Rochester net to record the victory.
“That’s a desperate team,” McBride said. “They’re playing for their playoff lives. We didn’t do the small things it takes to win. It’s a good reminder heading into the playoffs here that you can’t just show up to the rink here and win. I know the guys are all taking it to heart and we’ll be ready to go next week.”
The Roughnecks will finish up their regular season schedule with a game against the Rush in Edmonton next Saturday, April 21.
“We’ve got to be better all over the floor and we’ve got to come ready to play starting now for the next game,” Pym said. “We’re going to have a pissed off crew and I love it. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing next week because we’re going to have a very hungry, focused group of guys ready to go.”
Calgary will then host a 2012 NLL West Division Semi-Final on Saturday, May 5, 7:00 p.m. at the Scotiabank Saddledome against an opponent yet to be determined.