The Roughnecks will be facing a new-looked Mammoth team with a new coaching staff.
An emotion-filled game is set to boil over Saturday night at Pepsi Center as the Colorado Mammoth (4-7) and Calgary Roughnecks (6-3) rekindle their West Division rivalry at 9 p.m. ET. The game marks 'Lacrosse Out Cancer' Night in Denver as the Mammoth will wear special personalized jerseys auctioned off for different types of cancer research.
Watch the matchup live on TSN2 in Canada and on Altitude (DIRECTV channel 681 & Dish Network channel 410) & ESPN3 for U.S. subscribers.
This will be the third and final regular season matchup between the two clubs. With one win apiece in 2014, round three has extra emotions brewing after Colorado made a dramatic move behind the bench earlier this week, with the dismissal of head coach Bob Hamley and assistants Ed Comeau and Sean Ferris.
“That was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make,” said Mammoth president and general manager Steve Govett. “But with that being said, we are in a results-based business, and the results just weren’t there. We weren’t heading in the direction that our fans deserve and the number of home games we’ve had. Bottom line is that we are ready for a change.”
News broke Wednesday morning of a replacement at head coach for the Mammoth, or rather replacements. Pat Coyle, Chris Gill and Dan Stroup were announced as interim coaches, each with an individual responsibility for the team. With 12 NLL championships between the three, Govett anticipates their talents will trickle down to the players on roster.
“I think the way that these guys played the game was probably what I’d like to see them bring to the organization,” Govett added. “The fact of the matter is the three of them played with a significant amount of heart…I want our guys to buy into what they are selling.”
What they are selling: heart, chemistry, preparation and the intangibles.
And being three games below .500, Colorado is quickly finding their backs against the wall as the postseason approaches. That desperation and determination for a ‘W’ was only intensified earlier this week when Govett sounded off what it means going up against the archrival ‘Riggers’.
“We hate Calgary, they hate us. At the end of the day we’re going to come in and play in our barn and hopefully we’re going to play and play hard and take it back. They’re going to try and do the same thing, so let’s go!”
Calgary head coach Curt Malawsky, who battled against Colorado as a player for the Roughnecks from 2008-09, simply responded with three words.
"We’ll be prepared."
Colorado picked up a desperately needed win back in Week 7 versus Calgary at the Saddledome in a 14-13 road victory, snapping a four-game losing streak in the process. It ignited a three game winning streak for the boys in burgundy, but has been back downhill ever since. In their last six games the Mammoth have averaged 10.8 goals per game, but are giving up 13.3.
But the offensive numbers could see an improvement this week as Adam Jones, who was the team leader in goals prior to injury, will be a game time decision this week according to Govett. If he does not play Saturday, he has the upmost confidence that Jones will be a for-sure thing in Week 12.
In the meantime, Drew Westervelt has made is presence known in front of the net in recent weeks, leading the team in individual goals per game in two of the last three outings, and is third on the team in total scores this season (22) behind John Grant Jr. (23) and Jones (25).
The Roughnecks are coming off a phenomenal performance last week at Scotiabank Saddledome as they beat the Toronto Rock by a score of 19-13. This week, Calgary heads to Colorado (4-7) to take on a hungry Mammoth team that has been revamped by a new coaching staff.
Calgary is on a four-game winning streak and don’t show any signs of slowing down.
Malawsky enjoyed his team’s efforts last week versus the Toronto Rock, and praised his red-hot goaltender.
“I thought Mike Poulin was brilliant in net, and he gave us an opportunity to get some good looks down at the other end," he said.
Roughnecks transition player Geoff Snider won’t take it easy on his brother, Bob Snider, as they face off for the final time of the regular season. “Bobby’s a competitor, he’s a great kid and he works really hard. He’s done a great job establishing himself in this league and I don’t expect him to show me any quarter, he’s not going to get the same for me.”
Snider went on to say how much he enjoys playing against the Mammoth.
“We love Colorado," he said. "We love playing there, it’s a great atmosphere and I love my brother, so I’m going to go in there and show Colorado how much we just love them.”