By Joel Griffith | NLL.com Staff Writer
Whether it was the emotion provided by Tracey Kelusky’s pregame ceremony, or just sheer determination to bounce back from the previous night’s loss, the Calgary Roughnecks came out firing on all cylinders against the New England Black Wolves Saturday night.
On “Forever a Roughneck” night, honouring Kelusky, the Roughnecks showed their teeth with an 18-13 victory over the Black Wolves in front of 10,775 fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.
For the second time in the month of March, the Roughnecks emerged victorious in the second half of back-to-back games, after dropping the first game.
“It’s the best thing that can happen to you when you lose the night before, getting the chance to come back right away instead having a full week to sit and stew on it,” said Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky.
In order to continue this quality of play going forward in their push to the playoffs, Malawsky said they need to continue getting to the bench, fighting for loose balls, and continuing to play unselfish lacrosse.
“The guys just have to keep believing in the little things,” said Malawsky.
After a back and forth first half, with multiple lead changes, the Roughnecks blew the game open in the second half, building a 9-6 lead 5:14 into the third quarter and never relinquishing it.
The Roughnecks lead was a large as 18-10 in the fourth quarter, before the Black Wolves scored three goals late in the final frame to limit the damage to a five-goal margin.
Roughnecks F Wesley Berg was in on nine of his club’s 18 goals on the evening, notching five goals and four assists, setting a new career high for himself in the process.
Berg said as good as it felt to have the night he did, it felt even better to look up at the scoreboard at the end of the game.
“It felt good to get a win with the skid we’ve been on lately,” said Berg. “It’s good for morale and it’s good for everyone in the organization.”
Berg wasn’t the only Roughneck to explode on the score sheet as Curtis Dickson also went off for nine points (three goals, six assists), while both Jeff Shattler and Dane Dobbie notched seven points apiece.
On the other side of the turf, Black Wolves F Kyle Buchanan had himself a strong outing on the score sheet in the losing effort, potting five goals and adding two assists.
Despite his night statistically, Buchanan said it was disappointing not being able to earn the win for their assistant coach [Kelusky] on his night of honour, and said they need to regroup for next week.
“Kelusky played with a ton of passion, and we wanted to honour him in a way and play to that style, but we didn’t have the effort we wanted,” said Buchanan.
“Maybe we got little complacent because we’ve been on a bit of a roll lately, but whatever it is, we need to find it for next week.”
Black Wolves assistant coach and former Roughneck watched his banner get raised to the rafters prior to the game and he said it was a night he will never forget.
“It completely blew my expectations away,” said Kelusky. “Talk about a first class organization.”
The Roughnecks will continue their push back to a playoff spot on Friday when they visit the Rochester Knighthawks, while the Black Wolves will look to bounce back when they host the Toronto Rock next Sunday.