MAMMOTH TASK: After recording their first home victory of the season last Saturday, the Calgary Roughnecks (4-2) will look to extend their road winning streak to four games on Friday (7 p.m.). It won’t be an easy task for the Riggers though as they’ll travel to Denver to face the Colorado Mammoth, who lead the National Lacrosse League with a perfect 6-0 record. “It’s a phenomenal atmosphere to play in and we seem to rise to the occasion down there and try to bring a good game,” said Calgary coach Dave Pym in regards to playing at the Pepsi Center. “We have competitive fiery games against them and I expect nothing different.” While the Roughnecks downed the Edmonton Rush 12-8 at home at the Scotiabank Saddledome last Saturday, the Mammoth earned a 12-7 road victory over the Minnesota Swarm. “There’s no pressure at all other than the normal pressure of the NLL schedule,” said Colorado coach Bob Hamley when asked if his players are feeling pressure to keep their perfect record intact. “We’re not even thinking about anything but the next game. We always have great battles with Calgary. We know they are going to be ready for us. We’re expecting nothing but the best from them.”
OVERTIME SETBACK: The last time that the Roughnecks and Mammoth met on Jan. 21 in Calgary, Gavin Prout scored a power-play goal 45 seconds into overtime to earn Colorado a 13-12 win. Colorado’s John Grant Jr. led all scorers with four goals and six assists. With his third point of the game, Grant surpassed the 1,000-point plateau to become just the fifth player in NLL history to accomplish that feat. Adam Jones had a hat trick and three helpers for the Mammoth, while Prout finished with two goals and four assists. Derek Hopcroft had two goals, while Sean Pollock and Jamie Lincoln also scored. Daryl Veltman had a hat trick and three helpers to lead Calgary’s offensive attack. Shawn Evans notched two goals and three assists for the Riggers who let leads of 5-2 in the first quarter and 12-9 in the fourth quarter slip away. Scott Ranger scored twice and set up another goal, while Curtis Manning also chipped in with two goals. Curtis Dickson (1g, 2a), Peter McFetridge (1g) and Kaleb Toth (1g) also scored, while Jeff Shattler had three assists in a losing cause. Mike Poulin stopped 36-of-45 shots he faced in the Calgary net, while former Roughneck Chris Levis made 44 saves to record the win for the Mammoth.
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 a 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. Toth led the way offensively for Calgary with a goal and nine assists in the three-game set, while Ranger (4g, 5a), Cory Conway (3g, 6a) and Veltman (3g, 4a) were also dangerous. Despite missing the final regular season game against the Mammoth, both Dane Dobbie (5g, 2a) and Shattler (2g, 4a) fared well in the other two games. Grant Jr. led the Mammoth attack against the Riggers with seven goals and six assists, while Prout (2g, 8a) had 10 points in just two contests. Calgary has an all-time record of 11-13 (7-7 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 had three goals and an assist in the win, while Shattler scored once and set up four others. Dickson had a pair of goals and an assist, while Geoff Snider had three helpers. Poulin made 43 saves to record the win.
PYM’S PERSPECTIVE: Pym, who took over as the fifth head coach in Roughnecks’ history prior to the 2010 season, anticipates another hard-fought game against the Mammoth on Friday. “It’s an unbelievable rivalry that’s developed over the years and it’s something we really look forward to,” he said. Once again this season, Pym is being 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.
DICKSON DELIVERS: Dickson notched three goals and added two assists to lead the Roughnecks to a 12-8 win over the Rush last Saturday in front of 8,049 fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Every time Dickson has suited up against Edmonton, the Calgary forward has notched a hat trick. “It’s a pretty funny coincidence, but it’s tough not to get up for games against these guys,” Dickson said. “It’s the Battle of Alberta. I got to experience it last year four times. It’s just a great rivalry.” In his rookie season, Dickson had hat tricks in all four games – all wins for the Riggers – against the Rush in 2011. “He’s an incredible talent,” Pym said. “He’s got a nose for the net and he’s got a capacity to bury ’em.” Rookie transition player Travis Cornwall scored the first two goals of his NLL career, both in the fourth quarter during which the Riggers outscored the Rush 6-2. Shattler had two goals and three assists in the contest, while Veltman (2g, 2a), Evans (1g, 3a), Snider (1g, 2a) and Manning (1g) also contributed to the big win. Poulin made 40 saves in the Calgary net and chipped in with two assists for good measure. Scott Evans led the Rush attack with a two goals and three assists, while Corey Small also scored twice to go with two helpers. Edmonton goalie Aaron Bold stopped 37-of-49 shots he faced in a losing cause.
SNIDER EARNS ACCOLADES: For his efforts to help the Riggers down the Rush 12-8 last Saturday, Snider was named as the NLL’s Transition Player of the Week. In addition to scoring once and adding two assists, Snider collected 20 loose balls and won 18-of-23 face-offs against the Rush. Snider also was chosen as Transition Player of the Week for Week #1 of the NLL season.
ALL-STAR RIGGERS: Snider, Manning and Shattler will all represent Calgary on the West roster for the 2012 NLL All-Star Game presented by Reebok Lacrosse on Saturday 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 six games played this season, Shattler leads all Calgary players with 27 points (11g, 16a). Snider 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 (114) and loose balls (89) in six 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 five goals and added one assist in addition to scooping up 35 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 road win over the Washington Stealth 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 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
- Shawn Evans is 10 points away from reaching 400.
- Scott Ranger is just four loose balls shy of 300, while he needs to play eight more games to reach 100.
- Kaleb Toth is seven assists shy of 400. Toth also needs just nine more loose balls to reach 800.
- Nolan Heavenor is 11 points shy of 100.
- Scott Carnegie needs to scoop up just nine more loose balls to reach 200.