For almost the entire game, the Calgary Roughnecks had the Colorado Mammoth exactly where they wanted them.
After Shawn Evans opened the scoring less than two minutes in, the Riggers held an advantage over the visiting squad. All up until a defensive breakdown with 80 seconds left in the game allowed Colorado to tie it up and send the game to overtime.
In that frame, Mike Poulin did everything he could to live up to the moniker “The Poulin Wall.” It wasn’t until Sean Pollock picked up the third rebound Poulin turned awa and buried it to beat the Roughnecks 13-12.
Take out those two plays, and the Roughnecks were happy with their performance.
“We had a better game than our last game but we have to be able to close our games and we weren’t able to do that,” said Evans, who led the Roughnecks with four goals and three helpers. “We had a lot of opportunities, a lot of chances and we have to capilitize on our chances.
“We had about four breakaways and if any of those went in, it’s a different story. The bounces didn’t go our way and they end up scoring a couple off of it. We have to take to regroup, take the positives out of it and just grow from it.”
1. John Grant Jr. – Just as Poulin lived up the moniker as “The Poulin Wall”, Grant did just about everything possible to live up to the label as the “Best in the World.” In the Mammoth’s first nine goals, he scored six of them to notch a sock trick. He added two more assists in the game.
2. Mike Poulin – He did everything in his power to give the Roughnecks the win. He was out challenging shots, and outside of Grant, he stymied the Mammoth’s offense. (See Stat of the Week below)
3. Geoff Snider – He’s arguably the closest thing to a guaranteed faceoff win in the league, besides maybe his brother Bob Snider in Washington. Tonight, he won 22 out of 25 draws, and chipped in with two goals and one assist on the front end.
Stat of the Game
Grant Jr. scored six goals on 20 shots for the Mammoth. Poulin only allowed seven goals on 34 from the rest of the team combined. Colorado’s offense is driven through number 24.
Hit of the Game
With five minutes left in the first, Pete McFeteridge came off the bench in transition an caught Cameron Holding with head focused the other direction, sending the transition player flying with a clean crosscheck to the chest.
Save of the Game
This one was an easy one to pick. Seconds left on the scoreclock, ball bouncing around near the Roughnecks crease, Poulin flopped across the net, tossed up every appendage he could and stopped Grant Jr. with his stick at the buzzer.
“I knew I couldn’t lunge for it to try to pick the ball because there were too many of their guys around so I just stayed back and when it started getting passed around, it’s when I had to force myself to jump. It looks fine on video but as a goalie, fundamentally, you never want to have those kind of saves. It worked out but it could have not. I’ll take it, but at the end of day, fundamentally, I could have been a lot more solid.” -- Poulin
The Roughnecks rookie draft class continues to impress as they integrate into the roster. Fifth overall selection Joe Resetarits looked more composed on the offensive of the ball, chipping in with a goal, three points and a loose ball. Sixth overall selection Matthew Dinsdale played key minutes down the stretch on defence and used his speed on a few occasions to advance the ball. He picked up a couple of loose balls as well.
It was as close to a perfect start to the game the Roughnecks could ask for. At one point, they scored three goals on only four shots and finished the first quarter with four goals in seven shots. Mammoth pulled Chris Levis shortly into the second for the first time, who had a few goalie changes in the game due to injuries.
Dane Dobbie made his season debut for the Roughnecks after serving a one game suspension last week. He admitted after the game he may have tried to do too much, but still managed to snipe one goal and add three more assists.
After faultering with the extra man last week, the Roughnecks bounced back nicely, finding the back of the net five times in eight power play opportunities.
There won’t be much of a break for these teams, as they will face each other again next Friday in Denver. It’ll be a start of a three day roadtrip for Calgary, who take on Philadephia on Sunday.