BATTLE OF ALBERTA, PART 1: In the first of four meetings this season, the Calgary Roughnecks will face off against the Edmonton Rush at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night (7 p.m. MST, Sportsnet West/Pacific). When asked about the matchup, Calgary coach Dave Pym drew parallels between the Battle of Alberta and the legendary Hatfields versus McCoys feud. “Any time you play sports against rival cities, that intensity increases that much more and really everything is out the window,” Pym said. “It’s just a matter of let’s get at it.” While the Roughnecks (3-2) are coming off an emotional 12-11 road win over the Washington Stealth on Feb. 10, the Rush are still stinging from a 10-9 overtime setback to the Minnesota Swarm that same night. “We need to figure out how to win one-goal games and obviously get our offence going,” said Edmonton coach Derek Keenan. “We were pretty stagnant the last two weeks.” The Alberta rivals will also play a home-and-home series with Calgary travelling north to play in Edmonton on March 9 before the Rush make a return trip to the Saddledome to face the Riggers the following evening. The season series will then conclude with a game on April 21 at Rexall Place.
SHATTLER SHINES: Jeff Shattler scored four times to lead the Roughnecks to the 12-11 win over the Stealth in Everett, Wash., last Friday night. Shattler’s fourth goal of the contest at 12:57 of the fourth quarter was the 100th of his National Lacrosse League career and stood up as the game winner. “I had no idea,” Shattler said after his milestone moment. “That’s pretty cool. A lot of years playing in this league I guess. It was awesome for sure.” The reigning league MVP and Transition Player of the Year also had an assist for a five-point performance. “That was a great win for our team,” Shattler said. “It shows the character on our team and how we could battle.” With a goal and five assists during the victory, Scott Ranger also set a career milestone as he surpassed the 300-point plateau in points for his career.
DYNAMIC DEBUT: In his first National Lacrosse League appearance in between the pipes, rookie goalie Frankie Scigliano stopped 34 of 39 shots he faced to record the win over Washington. Scigliano replaced starting goalie Mike Poulin in net in the second quarter after Poulin surrendered six goals on 17 shots. “Feels pretty good to get a win,” said Scigliano, while noting he felt more comfortable in net with every shot he faced. “When you see more shots, you really get into the rhythm of the game so the more they peppered me, the more I got into it.” Shawn Evans scored twice and added three assists in the victory, while Curtis Dickson scored twice and had an assist. Daryl Veltman also had two goals, while Geoff Snider added a single. The Riggers fired an impressive 71 shots at Stealth goalie Tyler Richards, who finished with 59 saves in a losing cause. Former Roughneck Lewis Ratcliff led the Stealth attack with four goals and three assists, while Brent Bucktooth had a hat trick and a helper. Rhys Duch had a goal and six assists, while Mike Grimes, Cliff Smith, and Cam Sedgwick also scored for the Stealth.
ROUGHNECKS VS. RUSH: The Roughnecks won all four games they played against the Rush in the 2011 season and now boast an all-time record of 16-4 (6-2 at home, 10-2 on the road) against their rivals to the north. The 16 wins over Edmonton are the most that Calgary has recorded against any NLL franchise. The Riggers opened up with a 15-11 win in Edmonton on Jan. 28, 2011 before edging the Rush 12-11 the next night back at home in Calgary. The ’Necks also beat the Rush 12-11 in Edmonton on Feb. 20 before sweeping the season series with a 19-14 triumph at the Saddledome on March 19. Shattler led all players in last year’s season series with seven goals and 20 assists, while Dane Dobbie scored 10 goals to go with 15 assists. Dickson notched 12 goals to go with seven assists against the Rush, while Ranger scored eight times and set up 10 others. Kaleb Toth (4g, 10a) and Cory Conway (2g, 8a) also fared well in the four-game set. Poulin backstopped the Riggers to all four wins making 147 saves along the way. Ryan Ward led the Rush scoring attack with seven goals and 15 assists in the four games against the Riggers, while Corey Small (4g, 14a), Scott Evans (10g, 7a) and Jimmy Quinlan (4g, 2a) were also dangerous.
DID YOU KNOW?: Every time that Dickson has suited up against the Rush, the Calgary forward has recorded a hat trick. Last season’s NLL Rookie of the Year notched three goals and an assist in both ends of the home-and-home series against Edmonton in January of 2011. Dickson then had a hat trick and two helpers in Calgary’s win over Edmonton on Feb. 20, while saving his best for last with three goals and three assists as the Riggers swept the season series with a 19-14 triumph at home on March 19.
PYM’S PERSPECTIVE: According to Pym, who took over as the fifth head coach in Roughnecks’ history prior to the 2010 season, the Roughnecks will do everything it takes to win their first home game of the season when they take on the Rush on Saturday. While Calgary has won all three games they’ve played on the road so far, the Riggers only have a pair of overtime losses to show for their efforts at home in 2012. “We really haven’t played that much differently on the road versus at home,” Pym said. “I expect a phenomenal effort and a very intense effort from our guys at home this weekend. They want to perform well in front of the hometown fans. It’s something that they take very personal. It’s something that they pride themselves in. They want to put butts in the seats. In order to do that, we’ve got to play well at home and that’s our focus.” 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.
ALL-STAR RIGGERS: Earlier this month, the NLL announced that Roughnecks forward Jeff Shattler and transition players Geoff Snider and Curtis Manning have been named to the West roster for the 2012 NLL All-Star Game presented by Reebok Lacrosse on Saturday, Feb. 25 at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY. Shattler, the 2011 League MVP and Transition Player of the Year, will play in his fourth career All-Star Game. The Brampton, Ont., native recorded eight points (4g, 4a) and collected 33 loose balls in his previous three All-Star appearances. In five games played this season, Shattler leads all Calgary players with 22 points (9g, 13a). Snider, the NLL’s Transition Player of the Week for Week #1, will make his fifth All-Star appearance. The Calgary, Alta., native recorded 11 points (6g, 5a) and collected 50 loose balls in his past four All-Star games and was named the All-Star MVP in 2008. Snider leads the league in faceoffs won (96) and loose balls (69) in five games played. Manning, the NLL’s Defensive Player of the Week for Week #1, will make his first career All-Star appearance in Buffalo. Manning has scored four goals and added one assist for five points and scooped up 29 loose balls in five games played. The Surrey, B.C., native set a season-high for points with two goals and one assist in a 13-10 win over Washington on Jan. 14. Fans can watch the All-Star game on the NLL Network at www.nll.com.
OH BROTHER: Since the 2008 season, brothers Scott and Mike Carnegie have suited up for the Roughnecks on defence. This year, they’re joined on the back end by another brother tandem in Jon and Greg Harnett. While Jon appeared in all 16 games with the Riggers last season after playing the previous two seasons for Boston, Greg cracked Calgary’s roster this year as a rookie. The Riggers chose Greg in the second round (11th overall) of the 2011 NLL Entry Draft. Three of Calgary’s five picks at last year’s draft played well enough at training camp to earn spots on the roster. The others are transition player Travis Cornwall (first round, seventh 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 anchors 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 are the brother tandems of Mike and Scott Carnegie and Jon and Greg Harnett (the latter of whom is a rookie), along with Mike Kilby and Dan MacRae. Transition players Nolan Heavenor, Peter McFetridge, Manning and Snider are also back in the fold along with Poulin in goal.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
- By suiting up for Saturday’s game against Edmonton, Shawn Evans will reach the 100-games played plateau. Evans is also 14 points away from reaching 400.
- Scott Ranger is just six loose balls shy of 300, while he needs to play nine more games to reach 100.
- Kaleb Toth is seven assists shy of 400. Toth also needs just 10 more loose balls to reach 800.
- With just two more points, Daryl Veltman will have 200 for his four-year career. Veltman is also two loose balls shy of 200.
- Nolan Heavenor is 11 points shy of 100.
- Scott Carnegie needs to scoop up just nine more loose balls to reach 200.