The Calgary Roughnecks (3-2) continue their "Battle of Alberta" rivalry with the Edmonton Rush (1-3) at home at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night. (Photo: Dale MacMillan)
The Calgary Roughnecks (3-2) and Edmonton Rush (1-3) will continue their "Battle of Alberta" rivalry by meeting for the second straight week, this time at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET. Watch the game live on Sportsnet ONE and on the NLL on YouTube via The Lacrosse Network.
After an 0-2 start to the 2013 season at home, the Roughnecks won three straight games on the road, including last weekend's 18-15 up-and-down win over the Rush at Rexall Place to climb atop the West Division standings.
"We were a very good road team last season, we were 7-1 on the road and 5-3 at home," said Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky. "Something's got to give. We owe it to our fans and the organization who do such a great job of preparing everybody for the games."
With their lone win this season coming on the road, Edmonton might benefit from getting away, as they now have an 0-3 record at Rexall Place after their loss to Calgary.
“I thought we played hard, ran hard,” said Rush general manager and head coach Derek Keenan. “We never stopped working. It’s just that we made some mistakes and it seemed to end up in our net. Going forward, we need to limit the number of errors we make to look for a better result.”
Although Calgary came out of the game with the victory and currently leads the NLL with a +15 goal differential, Malawsky noted that there are improvements needed going forward.
“It was an ugly game for both teams," he said. "From our coaches perspective, we weren’t happy with our defensive effort."
Heading into this weekend's rematch, the first-year head coach Malawsky has some changes in mind for his club.
“It’s all about adjusting," he said. "We’ve got to make some systematic adjustments, trying to get back to the basics of our system because at times [the Rush] were able to break us down and attack at positions where we should know that they are going to come from.”
The Rush, who upset the top-seeded Roughnecks in the playoffs last year, have lost 11-straight regular season games in the provincial rivalry. Despite the streak, Keenan thinks the mental aspect can be overcome.
"I think it's probably losing to them so much to be honest," he said. "We've got to get over that hump. It's done by taking care of little things and limiting errors. It always seems against these guys that we make mistakes at crucial times."
“Calgary is a good team, they have a lot of firepower,” said Rush forward Ryan Ward. “They’ve had the same group of guys for a number of years."
Roughnecks rookie Joe Resetarits has already learned a lot from some of the core guys on the team.
"I couldn't ask for better guys to learn from than Scott [Ranger], Curtis [Dickson] and Shawn [Evans]," he said. "A lot of things they've taught me since the first week of training camp – my game has progressed a lot."
Ward seemed to agree with Keenan that small changes would go a long way in helping the Rush snap their losing steak to their rivals.
"Just limiting some of those errors," Ward said. "Maybe having a little bit better percentage on the power play. There’s not much between winning and losing in this league.”