All the news and notes as the Roughnecks prepare to take on Washington Stealth on Saturday.
RUBBER MATCH: Winners of three straight games, the Calgary Roughnecks (8-5) will look to keep that hot streak alive when they face off against the Washington Stealth (7-6) on Saturday night (7 p.m.) at the Scotiabank Saddledome. One week earlier at the Comcast Arena in Everett, Wash., Calgary rallied for an important 13-11 win over Washington. Earlier in the season on Feb. 23, the Stealth beat the ’Necks 16-14 at home in Everett. With the season series tied at one game apiece, that makes Saturday’s matchup that much more important. “We’re playing against a very, very tough team … in the Stealth,” said Calgary coach Curt Malawsky. “The season series is on the line. There’s a lot there for us this weekend.” Meanwhile, Washington has even more motivation since coach Chris Hall and his players are still looking to secure a playoff spot with a victory. “We’ve just got to go back and continue to build on where we were the last couple of games,” Hall said. “Defensively we’re playing well. We’ve got to still work on getting the offence on track a little bit. We just need to continue to build on that this weekend.”
RIGGERS STOP STEALTH: The Roughnecks scored seven goals in the fourth quarter last Saturday on the road to rally for a 13-11 win over the Stealth. Curtis Dickson led the way offensively for the Riggers with a four-goal effort. “We have to take the positives out of it,” Dickson said. “It was a playoff style game – that’s the mentality we have right now.” Dane Dobbie had a hat trick and two helpers, while Shawn Evans continued his strong season with a goal and six assists. Jeff Shattler (2g, 1a), Scott Ranger (1g, 3a) and Geoff Snider (1g, 2a) also got in on the action, while defenceman Greg Harnett notched the game-winning goal. “We kept our composure and we stuck to the plan and we battled through some things,” Malawsky said. “Our team’s been very resilient all year long. We make our breaks. We earn our breaks.” Calgary netminder Mike Poulin made 39 saves to record the win, while the Washington duo of Tyler Richards and Matt Roik combined to make 33 saves in a losing cause. Former Roughneck Lewis Ratcliff paced the Stealth attack with two goals and three assists, while Brett Bucktooth (2g, 2a), Dean Hill (2g) and Rhys Duch (1g, 4a) also had strong games. “It was frustrating knowing that a win would have clinched the playoff spot for us,” Hall said. “It would have got us the season series. There was a lot riding on the game.”
ROUGHNECKS VS. STEALTH: The Riggers were a perfect 3-0 against the Stealth last season as they beat Washington twice at the Comcast Arena in Everett (13-10 on Jan. 14 and 12-11 on Feb 10) before also prevailing 13-11 at the Scotiabank Saddledome on March 31. Shattler led the way offensively for the Riggers against the Stealth with nine goals and six assists, while Ranger scored seven times and set up seven others in the three-game set. Although he played in just two of the games against Washington, Dobbie still managed to put up six goals and four assists. Other top contributors for Calgary were Evans (3g, 6a), Daryl Veltman (2g, 6a) and Dickson (5g, 2a). Poulin backstopped the ’Necks to a pair of victories against the Stealth, while fellow Calgary netminder Frankie Scigliano earned the other win. Duch paced the Stealth attack against the Riggers with six goals and 11 assists in three games, while Ratcliff was also dangerous as he scored five times and added 11 helpers. In just one game against Calgary last season, Athan Iannucci had four goals and one assist for the Stealth. Richards played all three games against Calgary and stopped a total of 150 shots despite taking all three losses. The Roughnecks have compiled an all-time regular-season record of 7-4 (1-3 at home, 6-1 on the road) against the Washington Stealth.
DID YOU KNOW?: Since the Stealth relocated from San Jose to Washington prior to the start of the 2009 season, the Roughnecks have gone 6-1 in games they played at the Comcast Arena in Everett. Conversely, the Stealth has gone 3-1 on the road in games played at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Over the previous six seasons before the move, the Roughnecks had compiled a 9-7 record against the San Jose Stealth (3-4 at home, 6-3 on the road).
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. Malawsky has liked what he has seen from his players during their three-game win streak. “I like the way we’re progressing,” he said. “I still think we need to have consistency in all areas to put a full game together. I don’t think we’ve played our best and I think the guys in the room can attest to that. One thing from a coaching perspective that we’re very happy with is we’re getting better week in and week out.” Malawsky is being assisted this season by Bob McMahon as offence coordinator and Bruce Codd as defence coordinator. It’s the third season for McMahon on the Calgary coaching staff, while Codd joined the Riggers this season.
COMEBACK NOT ENOUGH: Despite firing eight goals in the fourth quarter, the Riggers still suffered a 16-14 road setback to the Stealth on Feb. 23. Down 12-6 heading into the final frame, the ’Necks rallied to tie up the contest 13-13 before the Stealth scored three late goals to seal the victory. Shattler led the Riggers with three goals and three assists, while Dickson also had a hat trick to go with an assist. Evans (2g, 4a), Dobbie (2g, 3a), Snider (1g, 1a), Veltman (1g, 1a) and Ranger (2a) also had multiple-point performances, while rookies Joe Resetarits and Matthew Dinsdale each scored once. For Dinsdale, it was his first-ever NLL goal. Duch led the Stealth attack with three goals and seven assists, while Iannucci (4g, 3a) and former Ratcliff (1g, 6a) chipped in with seven points apiece.
ON THE VERGE: In just his third season, Dickson has now tied 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.
MILESTONE MOMENTS: With a power-play goal in the first period of Calgary’s 12-11 overtime win at home over the Colorado Mammoth on March 23, Dobbie established a new franchise record for all-time power-play goals. Dobbie then added two more power-play markers last Saturday against the Stealth to give him 61 for his career. He was previously tied at 58 with former Roughneck captain Tracey Kelusky. … Meanwhile, McBride has played in 164 regular season games with the Riggers 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. … Through 13 games, Evans has scored 27 goals to go with 62 assists to give him a career-high 89 points. In his first season with the Riggers last year, Evans put up 79 points (32g, 47a) to tie his previous career high he previously set back in 2009 when he was a member of the Rochester Knighthawks.
A LOOK BACK: Led by the offensive exploits of Evans and Shattler, the Roughnecks finished atop the 2012 NLL standings with a 12-4 record. In his first year with the Riggers after being acquired from the Rochester Knighthawks, Evans led Calgary in scoring with 32 goals and 47 assists in 16 games played. Shattler followed up a 75-point season in 2011 with 72 points (31g, 41a) in 2012. Veltman (20g, 42a), Ranger (24g, 37a), Dickson (31g, 25a) and Dobbie (28g, 22a) also had solid offensive seasons for the ’Necks. In net, Poulin was a workhorse for the Riggers as he compiled a 10-3 record to go with a 10.27 goals against average and a .789 save percentage. After finishing first in the NLL’s West Division, the Roughnecks hosted the Rush (6-10) in the first round of the playoffs on May 5 and suffered a 19-11 setback to end their season.
RETURNING VETERANS: Captain Andrew McBride leads a group of 19 returning players on Calgary’s roster this year. Joining McBride on defence for another season are Dan MacRae as well as the brother combinations of Mike and Scott Carnegie and Greg and Jon Harnett. Back from last season at forward are Jeff Shattler, Shawn Evans, Curtis Dickson, Daryl Veltman, Dane Dobbie and Scott Ranger. At the transition position, Geoff Snider, Curtis Manning, Travis Cornwall, Nolan Heavenor and Peter McFetridge are all back for the 2013 campaign. Mike Poulin is once again the starter in between the pipes, while Frankie Scigliano will be counted upon to be a reliable back-up goalie.
NEW FACES: Among the four new faces on the Riggers this season are three of Calgary’s seven 2012 NLL Entry Draft selections: forward Joe Resetarits (first round, sixth overall), transition player Matthew Dinsdale (first round, seventh overall) and forward Jackson Decker (second round, 17th overall). The ’Necks also acquired forward Aaron Pascas from the Toronto Rock in exchange for a draft pick in the off-season.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
- With one more goal, Curtis Dickson will reach 100.
- Dickson is also 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.
- Daryl Veltman needs to score two more times to hit the 100-goal mark.
- Nolan Heavenor is two points away from 100 and two loose balls away from 500.
- Geoff Snider is eight goals away from 100 and 20 loose balls away from 1,500.
- With nine more points, Scott Ranger will reach 400.