Following two straight road wins, the Calgary Roughnecks return to the friendly confines of the Scotiabank Saddledome for their home opener against the Colorado Mammoth on Saturday.
ROAD WARRIORS: Following two straight road wins, the Calgary Roughnecks (2-0) return to the friendly confines of the Scotiabank Saddledome for their home opener against the Colorado Mammoth (1-0) on Saturday (7 p.m.). The Riggers opened the 2012 National Lacrosse League campaign on Jan. 8 with a come-from-behind 12-9 win over the defending NLL champion Toronto Rock at the Air Canada Centre. Despite trailing 5-4 at halftime, the Roughnecks had a big second half to beat the Washington Stealth 13-10 last Saturday at the Comcast Arena in Everett, Wash. “It was a back-and-forth battle that we ended up coming out with a huge win,” said Calgary’s Geoff Snider, who had an impressive outing with a goal and two assists in addition to collecting 17 loose balls and going 17-for-26 in the faceoff circle. “We played like a unit and stuck to our systems. We knew if we did that we would get results and it worked out.”
BACK-TO-BACK HAT TRICKS: After scoring three times and adding three assists in the win over the Rock, Dane Dobbie notched his second straight hat trick last Saturday against the Stealth. “He competes harder than anybody out there,” Snider said. “You can’t say enough about him, he puts his body on the line every single shift and he changes games. He’s a fearless leader out there.” Jeff Shattler scored twice and added four assists versus the Stealth, while Curtis Manning, Curtis Dickson and Scott Ranger each had two goals and an assist. Captain Andrew McBride chipped in with his first goal of the season. Calgary goalie Mike Poulin made 49 saves to record his second straight road win and he chipped in with two assists for good measure. Rhys Duch led the Stealth attack with four goals and two assists, while former Roughneck Lewis Ratcliff scored once and set up five others.
ROUGHNECKS VS. MAMMOTH: The Roughnecks went 1-2 in the 2011 regular season against the Mammoth. After a narrow 8-7 loss to Colorado at home on Jan 15, the Riggers rebounded with an exciting 14-13 triumph over the Mammoth at the ’Dome on April 8. The Mammoth then took the season series thanks to an 11-7 victory over the Riggers at the Pepsi Center in Denver on April 15. Kaleb Toth led the way offensively for Calgary over Colorado with a goal and nine assists in the three-game set, while Ranger (4g, 5a), Cory Conway (3g, 6a) and Daryl Veltman (3g, 4a) were also dangerous. Despite missing the final regular season game against the Mammoth, both Dobbie (5g, 2a) and Shattler (2g, 4a) fared well in the other two games. John Grant Jr. led the Mammoth attack against the Riggers with seven goals and six assists in three games, while Gavin Prout (2g, 8a) had 10 points in just two contests. Calgary has an all-time record of 11-12 (7-6 at home, 4-6 on the road) in the regular season against Colorado. Despite losing the season series to the Mammoth, the Riggers opened the post-season with a 10-6 win over the Mammoth on April 30. Ranger and Dobbie both finished with three goals and an assist in the win, while Shattler scored once and set up four others. Dickson got in on the action with a pair of goals and an assist, while Snider had three helpers. Poulin made 43 saves to record the win.
COACH COMMENT: Dave Pym took over as the fifth Head Coach in Roughnecks’ history prior to the 2010 season. Once again this season, Pym will be assisted by Curt Malawsky as Offence Coordinator and Bob McMahon as Defence Coordinator. It’s the third season for Malawsky on the Calgary coaching staff, while McMahon is back for his second year behind the bench. McMahon said the Riggers will have their hands full this Saturday with the Mammoth, which beat the Minnesota Swarm 20-14 in Denver last Saturday. “We were in the same spot last year being 2-0 and Colorado came in (on Jan. 15) and knocked us off,” McMahon said. “It’s always a great atmosphere at the ’Dome. We’re anticipating a great crowd. I know the players always look forward to playing in front of the home crowd.”
DID YOU KNOW?: Prior to being acquired in a trade with the now-defunct Boston Blazers in February of 2010 for a first round pick in the 2011 NLL Draft, Poulin had compiled a 1-9 record in net with Boston and Toronto. Since becoming a Roughneck, the 26-year-old netminder has turned his career around. He has gone 18-6 during his time with Calgary. Poulin’s next win will be the 20th of his career.
A LOOK BACK: Led by the offensive exploits of Shattler and Dobbie, the Roughnecks finished atop the 2011 NLL standings with an 11-5 record. After recording 75 points (29g, 46a) in 15 games, Shattler was named the NLL Transition Player of the Year as well as league MVP. Dobbie also put up 75 points with a team-leading 34 goals and 41 assists in 15 games. In 14 games, Ranger compiled a career-high 29 goals and added three assists, while Kaleb Toth (16g, 37a), Dickson (33g, 19a), Cory Conway (12g, 33a) and Veltman (13g, 29a) also had solid offensive seasons. In net, Poulin played every game for the Riggers and compiled an 11-5 record to go with an 11.03 goals against average and a .765 save percentage. After winning their first post-season game against the Mammoth on April 30, the Riggers lost 10-8 to the Stealth in the West Final the next weekend. Ratcliff led the way for Washington with a hat trick and four helpers. Ranger had a goal and four assists for the Riggers, while Dobbie (1g, 3a), Shattler (1g, 2a), Toth (1g, 2a), Veltman (2g), Dickson (1g, 1a) and Conway (2a) also had multiple-point performances.
NEW-LOOK RIGGERS: In addition to acquiring Shawn Evans from the Rochester Knighthawks in the off-season, the Roughnecks also picked up forward Geoff McNulty and goalie Nick Rose from the now-defunct Boston Blazers in the 2011 NLL Dispersal Draft. Among the six new faces who made the team are three of Calgary’s five 2011 NLL Entry Draft selections: transition player Travis Cornwall (first round, seventh overall), defenceman Greg Harnett (second round, 11th overall) and goalie Frankie Scigliano (second round, 18th overall).
RETURNING VETERANS: McBride leads a group of 18 returning vets on Calgary’s roster this year. “When we’re firing on all cylinders, staying disciplined and playing our game, we’re one of the top teams in the league,” said McBride, who will anchor Calgary’s defence corps. The Roughnecks are also pleased to welcome back Shattler, Dobbie, Ranger, Dickson, Conway, Veltman and Toth at forward. Joining McBride on defence for another year are brothers Mike and Scott Carnegie along with Jon Harnett, Mike Kilby and Dan MacRae. Transition players Nolan Heavenor, Peter McFetridge, Curtis Manning and Snider are also back in the fold along with Poulin in goal.
STREAMLINED LOOK: During their two road wins, the Roughnecks wore their new away (red) uniforms which feature a streamlined look and a black sublimation on the sides of the away jerseys and shorts. This weekend, the Riggers will debut their new home (white) jerseys which feature a red sublimation on the sides of the jerseys and shorts. The Roughnecks prevalent brand is continued in the new shoulder crest featuring an oil derrick with a prominent ‘R’. The uniforms produced by Reebok feature several improvements to the jerseys, including using a new, lightweight material and slimmer design to enhance player movement. “Reebok has revolutionized the NLL jerseys by introducing a lacrosse specific design and developing new materials to maximize performance,” said Steve Robaire, Head of Reebok Lacrosse. “The new NLL jersey has an ergonomic shape design to enhance range of motion and reduce drag. The material used for the NLL jersey is lightweight while offering four-way stretch as well as advances in abrasion resistance and wicking properties.”
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
- In his sixth NLL season, Jeff Shattler is approaching a pair of milestones. Shattler needs six goals to reach 100 and by collecting six more loose balls, he’ll reach 600 for his career.
- Scott Ranger is also nearing two milestones. With 11 more points, Ranger will hit the 300-mark for his eight-year career, while he also needs just 13 loose balls to reach 300 in that category.
- By setting up seven more goals, Kaleb Toth will hit the 400-assist mark. Toth also needs just 12 more loose balls to reach 800.
- By playing in four more contests, Shawn Evans will reach the 100 games played plateau.
- Nolan Heavenor needs to collect six loose balls to reach 400, while Mike Carnegie is nine loose balls shy of 300.