Dickson explodes for five goals in a 15-13 win over the Minnesota Swarm. Photo by Scott Pierson.
The Calgary Roughnecks (3-3) exploded for a strong second half on way to a 15-13 win over the Minnesota Swarm (1-5) on Saturday night, bringing the team back to .500 early on in the NLL season.
“We came out with a lot of energy,” said the star of the night, Curtis Dickson. “They were running a lot in transition and getting tired playing both ends of the floor. We came out hot and they had the goalie change at half that we took advantage of.
“We put a few quick ones by the cold goalie and we kept it rolling from there.”
Calgary went into the second half trailing 7-6 to the Swarm after a back-and-forth first 30 minutes.
But the team came out firing in the second half, sniping eight goals through 20 minutes while the Swarm only found the back of the net twice.
Head coach Curt Malawsky was quick to give credit to assistant coach Bob McMahon for drawing up the offensive playbook that thrived in the second half.
“We shared the ball, we shared the floor and were looking to create from certain areas that we wanted to,” Malawsky said. “Our big thing this week with the offense was that we were were going to talk about what makes us successful.
“I thought we did some things that were conducive to our personnel on the floor and what we feel as coaching staff is conducive to us having success in the NLL.”
Discipline was one area of concern for the Roughnecks heading into their bye week, but it was definitely under control on Saturday night.
They held themselves to just three penalty kills and allowed no goals while down a man.
In fact, the team was able to score twice shorthanded, shifting the momentum.
“(Discipline) had been one of our downfalls this season and we’ve spent a lot of time in the box,” Dickson said. “Tonight, we spent a lot of time 5-on-5 and that’s when we are at our best.
“Nothing really had to be said. We knew what we needed to do, we knew we can’t win games sitting in the penalty box so that’s just something we had to work through.”
The first half saw three different lead changes, as neither team was able to earn more than a two-goal advantage. The half finished with a shorthanded marker from the Karsen Leung, bringing the Roughnecks within one.
Minnesota expanded the lead just 10 seconds into the second half, but saw the Roughnecks reply with a three-goal run, followed immediately by a five-goal run.
The Swarm, led by a natural hat trick by Shayne Jackson, brought the home team within one goal late in the fourth quarter. However the comeback hopes were dashed when Dickson scored his fifth of the night on a penalty shot in the final minute.
Four offensive players exploded in the game, led by Shawn Evans who dished off eight assists. In addition to his five goals, Dickson also added two assists, while Daryl Veltman (2g, 5a) and Dane Dobbie (4g, 2a) also managed at least six points.
Jeff Shattler (1g, 2a), Karsen Leung (2g) and Dan MacRae (1g) rounded out the scoring.
Jordan MacIntosh (3g, 3a) and Jackson (3g, 2a) both managed hat tricks, while Alex Crepinsek, Mike Hobbins, Cam Flint, Logan Schuss, Andrew Suitor, Callum Crawford and Kiel Matisz all scored single markers.
Goalie Mike Poulin stood tall in the Roughnecks net, stopping 33 of 46 shots, while Tyler Carlson and Zach Higgins combined for 28 saves on 43 shots.
The Roughnecks now return to the Scotiabank Saddledome and begin a three-game homestand on Saturday, Feb. 15 when Calgary hosts the Vancouver Stealth at 7:00 p.m.