Round two of the Homes By Avi Battle of Alberta will be at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night
No one will expect a repeat of last Saturday’s game between the Calgary Roughnecks (3-2) and Edmonton Rush (1-3).
There were too many goals, too many transition opportunities and too many quality scoring chances from inside last weekend during the Roughnecks 18-15 win.
Instead, everyone involved expects a much tighter game on both ends of the floor when they take to the field again on Saturday at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
“It was an ugly game for both teams,” said head coach Curt Malawsky. “It was a big time shootout and everyone in this league knows that offense wins games but defence wins championships.
“From a coaches perspective, we weren’t happy with our defensive effort.
“I think (Rush) coach (Derek) Keenan can concur it was a long week of film for both of us and you’re going to see a lot different come this weekend.”
Last week, both teams seemed to have the ability to score at will for the first half, with teams potting 20 goals combined in the first 30 minutes.
It was then that the Roughnecks seemed to limit the Rush opportunities on the offensive side and began to take control of the game. Two empty-net goals from the Roughnecks helped extend their three-game winning streak and bump the team to top place in the West Division.
“Being that it was a weird game with so many goals, I think it was a testament to our offence who kept paced with them,” said assistant captain Mike Carnegie. “It was not great on the defensive end at times but I thought our offense really shined in that game.
“It’s getting back to the basics for our (defense) and not let too focused on the other teams offense. We have our systems and we try to stick to that and the last couple of years, it’s served us well. It’s just a matter of playing our game and getting back to the basics.”
It’ll be the first time on home floor for the Roughnecks in almost three weeks, and they didn’t have much success at the Scotiabank Saddledome in the first place. They picked up back-to-back losses to start the season at home, before winning their next three games on the road.
Focusing on the task at hand will be one of the key messages coming from general manager Mike Board when the players arrive at the rink on Friday.
“It’s tricky because we’ve been on the road and we’ve had good focus," Board commented. "At home, I don’t think our focus has been as good because there are some of those distractions. It’s something we will emphasize as soon as the guys start arriving here on Friday and at practice on Friday night and shootaround on Saturday morning is you have to be focused and you have to be ready. There is no easy games in this league and Edmonton is going to come at us hard.”
Last week's win extends the Roughnecks domination over the Rush to nine straight regular season games, and they hold a 21-4 record over their division rivals.
Game time is 7 p.m. at the Scotiabank Saddledome.