After opening the 2013 NLL season with two home losses, the Calgary Roughnecks (2-2) capped off a two-win weekend road trip with a 16-8 victory over the Philadelphia Wings (2-2) at Wells Fargo Center on Sunday afternoon.
Roughnecks transition player Geoff Snider scored a hat trick in his first return to Philadelphia since leaving in a 2010 trade after four seasons with the Wings. Snider opened the scoring just 15 seconds into the game by winning the opening faceoff and taking it himself for the goal. The faceoff specialist went 20-for-26 (77%) on the draw, collected 13 loose balls and finished with a hat trick with four points (3+1).
Calgary led 4-0 after the first quarter and extended their lead to 8-2 at halftime.
“That was probably one of the worst starts we’ve had in a long, long time," said Wings general manager and head coach Johnny Mouradian. "[Calgary] came out hard, fast, and intense.”
But the Wings would fight back by outscoring the Roughnecks 5-2 in the third quarter, getting as close as 10-8 when Paul Rabil completed his hat trick 1:21 into the fourth quarter.
“We felt good on how hard we battled in the third to get back into the game," Mouradian said. "We played with a lot of drive. [goalie Brandon Miller] came in and settled our 'D' down."
But Calgary closed the game on a six-goal run after Rabil narrowed their lead to two to secure the win.
"Our 'O' simply ran out of gas," said Mouradian, whose team played on consecutive nights after their 14-13 loss in Buffalo last night. "We gave up two transition goals in the fourth and the wheels just came off.”
Shawn Evans (2+4) and Dane Dobbie (4+2) both led the team with a game-high six points while Rabil (3+2) and Kevin Crowley (2+3) each recorded a team-high five points in the losing effort.
“I felt fortunate to get a few of those [goals]," Rabil said. "I’ve been taking the same kinds of shots, and today, they went in. The guys have been telling me to just keep shooting. It feels good to play well for your teammates. The important thing is the scoreboard.”
The Roughnecks lit up the scoreboard early and often as Wings backup goaltender Kevin Croswell got the start but was pulled after making 13 saves on 20 shots.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see what [Croswell] could do, because we didn’t play very well in front of him," Mouradian said. "That’s not a very good indication. We didn’t give him much support early on.”
Starter Brandon Miller provided a short boost in relief and finished with 23 stops on 31 shots while Roughnecks goalie Mike Poulin allowed just two first-half goals and was strong with 42 saves on 50 shots in the win.
The Wings entered Week #4 as the NLL's only undefeated team but are now an even .500 after losing games on back-to-back nights.
“It’s hard, but it’s part of the job," said Rabil about the busy weekend. “It’s hard on the body, but you train your mind and body to get you through it.”
Philadelphia will get some rest with a bye next weekend while Calgary will hit the road again, this time against the Edmonton Rush on Saturday, Feb. 2 at Rexall Place at 9 p.m. ET.