MAMMOTH TASK: Following a bye week, the Calgary Roughnecks (6-5) will return to action on Saturday night when they host the Colorado Mammoth (4-7) at the Scotiabank Saddledome. “We’re treating these last five games like playoff games,” said Calgary coach Curt Malawsky. “That’s the mentality we’re going in with. What better way to start than (against) one of the top and the hottest teams in the league right now. We’ll be ready to go Saturday night.” On March 8 at home, the Riggers snapped a two-game losing streak by beating the Minnesota Swarm 19-15. One night later, Colorado ended a five-game losing skid by doubling up the Buffalo Bandits 12-6 on the road. The Mammoth then followed that up with a 16-13 win over the Bandits the following week at home in Denver. “We’ll try to take that momentum into Calgary,” said Colorado coach Bob Hamley, whose squad acquired forward Casey Powell from the Rochester Knighthawks on March 12 in exchange for Jon Sullivan and a third round selection in the 2014 NLL Entry Draft. “(He’s) excited to be in Colorado and we’re excited to have him on our side.”
SEASON SERIES: After suffering a 13-12 overtime loss to Colorado at home on Jan. 19, the Riggers got their revenge the following weekend at the Pepsi Center in Denver with a 19-12 triumph over the Mammoth. That makes Saturday’s game extremely important as it will decide the season series between the two clubs with the NLL playoffs slated to start in late April. “I think our guys realize the importance,” Malawsky said. “The big thing for us is focusing on ourselves. It’s very important that we get the wins while we can and we get that tie-breaker.”
Sean Pollock scored at 6:02 of the extra session to lead the Mammoth to the overtime win on Jan. 19. Calgary netminder Mike Poulin did his best to keep Calgary in the game as he stopped 41 of 54 shots he faced. John Grant Jr. led the Mammoth attack with six goals and two assists, Gavin Prout scored once and set up six others, while Jamie Lincoln had two goals. Shawn Evans notched four goals and added three assists for the Riggers, while Jeff Shattler scored twice and set up two others. Dane Dobbie (1g, 3a), Scott Ranger (1g, 3a), Geoff Snider (2g, 1a) and Joe Resetarits (1g, 2a) also had multiple-point performances, while Curtis Dickson scored once. Evans then led the ’Necks with a four-goal, nine-assist performance in Calgary’s 19-12 road win over Colorado the following week. Dobbie also sniped four goals to go with three helpers in the win over the Mammoth, while Shattler (3g, 5a), Ranger (3g, 4a) and Dickson (3g, 2a) all had hat tricks. Daryl Veltman (1g, 4a) and Snider (1g, 2a) also chipped in offensively, while Poulin made 37 saves to record the win.
OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION: With his 13-point performance against the Mammoth, Evans set a new franchise record for most points in a single game. The previous mark of 11 was held by Dobbie, Lewis Ratcliff and John Kilbride. “Early in the game the ball was finding the back of the net,” Evans explained. “Then when I made a pass and a guy had an open opportunity, he was putting the ball in the net. When things are going like that, it’s just nice, because most times you don’t get that. It’s nice when you get into a little bit of a rhythm and things are going well for you.” While it was a new record for the Riggers, it wasn’t a new benchmark for Evans, who had a 14-point game (7g, 7a) against the Toronto Rock back in 2009 when he was a member of the Rochester Knighthawks. “I forgot about that one,” Evans said. “It’s just sort of how the game goes. Sometimes you get a lot of opportunities to score goals and to create plays and sometimes they don’t go in the net.”
ROUGHNECKS VS. MAMMOTH: The Roughnecks went 1-1 in the 2012 regular season against the Mammoth. After a 13-12 overtime loss to Colorado at home on Jan. 21, the Riggers rebounded with a 21-10 shellacking of the Mammoth on Feb. 24 in Denver. Veltman led the way offensively for Calgary over Colorado with six goals and nine assists in the two-game set, while Evans (5g, 6a), Shattler (2g, 9a), Ranger (3g, 7a), Dickson (4g, 4a) and Snider (2g, 2a) were also dangerous. Grant led the Mammoth attack against the Riggers last year with eight goals and nine assists in just two games. Prout was also dangerous against the ’Necks as he scored the overtime goal in the first game and finished with four goals and seven assists in the two-game set. Adam Jones (3g, 6a) and Lincoln (3g, 1a) also had multiple-point performances in both games against the Riggers. Poulin had a win and a loss in between the pipes for Calgary, while Chris Levis went 1-1 in the Colorado net. Calgary has an all-time record of 13-15 (7-8 at home, 6-7 on the road) in the regular season against Colorado.
DOMINANT DOBBIE: On March 8 during Pete the Plumber Superhero night at the Scotiabank Saddledome, Dane Dobbie put in his best effort of the season to lead the Roughnecks to a 19-15 win over the Minnesota Swarm. Dobbie scored six times and added four assists to help the Riggers snap out of a two-game losing skid. For his efforts, Dobbie was named Offensive Player of the Week for Week 10 of the NLL season. Shattler proved to be a worthy sidekick to Dobbie in their quest to defeat the Swarm as he finished with four goals and two helpers. Evans also had a spectacular game with a goal and seven assists, while Resetarits (1g, 3a), Veltman (1g, 1a), Nolan Heavenor (1g, 1a), Snider (1g), Peter McFetridge (3a) and Jon Harnett (2a) also had strong games. “That’s the best thing about our offence,” Dobbie said. “It’s well rounded. It’s good to get back on track.” Poulin made 40 saves to record the victory for Calgary.
MOUSE’S MUSINGS: Curt Malawsky, whose nickname is ‘Mouse’, took over as the sixth head coach in Roughnecks’ history prior to the start of the 2013 season. Malawksy said the bye week gave his players time to recuperate from various ailments heading into the final stretch of the season. “It’s just a good time to have that two-week break, kind of charge up your battery and look to fight for a playoff spot,” Malawsky said. “They made sure that they kept their fitness going over the two-week period. We’ve got a lot to prove going down the stretch here. We’re ready to fight for a playoff spot.” Malawsky is being assisted by Bob McMahon as offence coordinator and Bruce Codd as defence coordinator this season. It’s the third season for McMahon on the Calgary coaching staff, while Codd joined the Riggers this season.
ON THE VERGE: In just three seasons, Dickson has now tied Tracey Kelusky for the franchise lead in all-time short-handed goals during the regular season at 12. He has six short-handed goals this season and is one away from matching the NLL single-season record, which is shared by three players including Washington forward Jeff Zywicki, who accomplished the feat in 2008 when he was a member of the San Jose Stealth. Meanwhile, Dobbie has pulled into a tie with Kelusky for the franchise lead in all-time power-play goals during the regular season at 58.
DID YOU KNOW?: Calgary captain Andrew McBride has played in 162 regular season games with the Calgary Roughnecks making him the franchise leader in that category. McBride recently passed “Forever a Roughneck” honouree Kaleb Toth, who previously held the franchise mark by appearing in 160 career regular season games with the Riggers.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
- Curtis Dickson is now tied with Tracey Kelusky for the franchise lead in all-time short-handed goals at 12. He’s also one away from matching the NLL single-season record of seven short-handed goals in one year.
- Dane Dobbie is now tied with Kelusky for the franchise lead in all-time power-play goals at 58.
- Daryl Veltman needs to score two more times to hit the 100-goal mark.
- Nolan Heavenor is two points away from 100.
- Shawn Evans needs two goals to hit 200.
- With nine more goals, Curtis Dickson will reach 100.
- Geoff Snider is 10 goals away from 100.
- With 14 more points, Scott Ranger will reach 400.