Dane Dobbie scored five goals to help the Calgary Roughnecks (2-2) get back in the saddle with a 15-12 home win over the Vancouver Stealth (2-2) before a crowd of 8,957 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.
“We’ve got a young team, with a lot of veteran leadership," said Dobbie. “Our transition team ran the ball the whole night. We got some open looks, and they finally started dropping for us.”
Roughnecks forward Shawn Evans capped the night off with 9 points, including his first hat-trick of the season. He continues to lead the ‘Necks with 23 points; 19 of which are assists.
“He definitely had a very strong night up front,” said Roughnecks assistant coach Bruce Codd, “the one thing that we’ve been harping on a little bit lately, is that we haven’t been moving the ball as quickly (as past games). I thought tonight he really did a good job of distributing the ball. It makes it tough on their defense. When the ball is moving around, they can’t just ‘key in’ on one guy.”
It was a slow start for both sides, ending the first quarter with a 2-2 tie. However, Calgary doubled Vancouver in the shot column, firing 16 shots on Stealth net-minder Tyler Richards. By the half, Calgary had a 5-4 lead, with 29 shots to Vancouver’s 20.
“It takes a while to get your legs (going),” continued Dobbie, “but we went for a run this morning, and got our guys going. The first half was a battle… mainly just wearing their defense down. We were getting good looks, and Tyler Richards played well.”
In the Roughnecks crease, Mike Poulin faced 40 shots, stopping a total of 28. Despite the awry statistic, he made several key stops in the second half when it counted.
“Mike (Poulin) was very steady back there tonight,” Codd continued, “he made some really good saves. He’s really good around the net, picking up loose balls tonight which stopped a lot of second possessions and kept our defense fresh.”
The last time these two teams met, was in the 2013 NLL’s West Division Final. Vancouver took it 14-13, adding a secondary element to an increasing rivalry between these two teams.
Tonight, redemption was fate, especially after a dismal performance in Edmonton the night before.
“Those are real tough,” continued Codd, in reference to playing back-to-back nights, “it’s nice when the other team had one as well, but it was definitely a quick game. Both teams seemed to have their legs.”
Vancouver also came off a game the night before, but the result was more in their favor, taking down Colorado 14-13 at the Langley Events Centre. The team travels back to BC tonight.
“I think we made a lot of the same mistakes we made last night,” said Stealth forward Rhys Duch, who picked up 3 goals and 5 points in the loss, “we needed to take away their transition. It was tough to get in a bit of a rhythm in the first half. I think they did a better job of adjusting to a ‘slow-flow’ game. They made better adjustments.”
With the loss, the Vancouver Stealth are now tied for 2nd with Calgary in the West Division. They’ll welcome the undefeated Edmonton Rush to the Langley Events Center next Saturday.
The game was back-and-forth, but 5 goals in the 4th quarter helped the 'Necks secure their second home victory in as many games. Vancouver jumped out to an early lead, but Roughnecks forward Jeff Shattler scored twice to finish the 1st quarter tied 2-2.
After the first half, Calgary had a one-goal lead at 5-4 and maintained the same margin after 3 quarters, leading 10-9.
It was a hard fought battle for two teams that were playing in their second game in two nights, but Stealth head coach Chris Hall didn’t think fatigue was a determining factor in the outcome.
“The guys battled hard,” said Hall. “We didn’t get many breaks tonight and we needed a couple.”
The Stealth got off to a great start with two early goals, but the Roughnecks were able to climb back and tie the game 2-2 before the end of the first quarter. The two teams went back and forth for most of the game as the new Canadian rivalry did not disappoint in the first match up of the season.
The Roughnecks power play really came alive in this game and proved to be the difference scoring 6 goals on 9 opportunities. Whereas the Stealth’s power play only produced two goals on the night,
“We kept fighting back, but every time we did, we ended up in the penalty box which was unfortunate,” said Hall. “Dobbie kind of ran wild on us in the fourth quarter and he also drew a lot of penalties. We had some bright spots too. I thought Nick Weiss played very well in his first NLL game and Bill Hostrawser scored his first goal.”
The Stealth continue to get contribution from a number of different players, both on the defensive end and on the offensive end. Tonight wasn’t the outcome the Stealth were looking for, but the effort was certainly there,
“Overall, I was very pleased with the heart the guys showed. We continued to hang in there even though we faced a lot of adversity tonight,” said Hall.
The Calgary Roughnecks welcome the Colorado Mammoth to the Scotiabank Saddledome next Saturday, January 25 at 9:00 EST. The Vancouver Stealth take on the Edmonton Rush and the Langley Events Centre next Saturday, January 25th 10:00 EST.
“(The Rush) are what they are,” said Duch. “They have a big, athletic defense, they like to push the ball a little bit. They’ve got some superstars on offense and move the ball well. That said, there’s nothing secret about them, we’ve just got to adjust our game but not too much. We’ve got to clean up our mistakes, and bring the game to them.”
Three Stars of the Game as selected by the media:
1) Dane Dobbie
2) Jeff Shattler
3) Tyler Richards