Shawn Evans has 12 points (4+8), including his 600th career point, to help the Calgary Roughnecks (4-3) defeat the Vancouver Stealth (3-7) with a 20-9 home win in front of 11,162 fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday. Several scoring marks were reached with the decisive victory, including Calgary’s first 20-goal performance at home since March 31, 2007.
“Our guys competed at a great level, at a level we need to compete at to be successful,” said Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky after the game. “We got the shots to where we wanted to on the floor, we limited their transition men for the most part, and we were offensively sound for the most part.”
Ask any coach what the key to success is, and the word “discipline” will come up often. Calgary surrendered just 2 minutes of power play time in the game. But tempers flared on the Stealth bench as the clock winded down in the fourth quarter.
“(My team) handled it exactly as I told them to handle it,” said Malawsky about Vancouver’s outburst as the game neared the final seconds. “We’re up by 11 goals, so we’ll decide when it’s time to fight.”
At the 8:28 mark of the final frame, Ilija Gajic and Greg Hartnett dropped the gloves. With the fight, Gajic also received a game misconduct and a 2 minute minor for instigating. This wouldn’t be the final tilt of the night though; just 5 minutes later, Matt Beers and Travis Cornwall also picked up fighting majors.
“That’s the heart of a champion right there,” added Malawsky, on Harnett’s ability to protect his team in the fourth quarter. “He exemplifies what we believe in… guys who do little things like that in the trenches go a long way in this league, and this organization.”
Calgary had 3 separate 5-goal runs, one of them coming in the 4th quarter to seal the offensively powerful victory for the Roughnecks.
Two more records were set with the victory. One of which, being a new scoring landmark for Shawn Evans as he picked up his 600th career point. Evans entered the game 10 points off the mark, but capped off number 600 at the halfway mark of the final frame.
“It was a team win,” said a slightly modest Evans on the accomplishment. “It took everybody to play together as a team. We didn’t make too many mistakes, and it’s good to see to carry over into next game.”
The Necks entered the second half up 8-5 on the Stealth. Just 2 minutes into the third quarter, the Roughnecks did something the NLL hadn’t seen since 2010; they scored three goals in the span of just 27 seconds. Not just that, but the latter 2 goals of that run came just 5 seconds apart, falling just short of a new franchise record (set in 2012 at 4 seconds).
“It’s just one of those things, where we had a couple of breaks and ended up putting the ball in the net,” continued Evans, who also received the night’s first star. “It’s always huge coming out after the first half and burying a couple. It was a good momentum swing for us, and we carried it on for the rest of the game.”
The Roughnecks had 9 separate goal scorers, including added marks from Dane Dobbie (4+3), Geoff Snider (3+2), Curtis Dickson (3+2), and Jeff Shattler (2+6).
Vancouver entered Calgary coming off an offensive onslaught of their own the night prior, taking down Colorado 19-9. Tonight was mirrored the complete opposite.
“We just didn’t come to play,” said Stealth head coach Chris Hall. “We were okay early I thought. But as the game progressed, we showed signs that we were just coming to them. They got that 8-5 goal which put is down 3 at the half, which was a huge deflator for our team.”
With the loss, Vancouver has lost 6 of their last 7 games. They’ll have to wait 3 weeks until they hit the turf again in Edmonton, giving the team plenty of time to iron out any big issues.
“We’ve got to focus on putting together a combination of players that can compete, and win, and stay in lacrosse games,” continued Hall. “We were a house on fire last night, and tonight we were the complete opposite. You’ve got to find some consistency, and when you’re down, you’ve got to find some way to keep yourself in then game and compete.”
Vancouver’s biggest offensive threats came from Tyler Digby (1+2), Lewis Radcliffe (2+2), Cody Bremner (1+0), and Brett Bucktooth (3+1). Rhys Duch (0+4) added 4 helpers in the loss.
“We didn’t have the effort or the mental capacity to come out and win two in a row in a double header.” said Digby, who was awarded Rookie of the Month honors in January. “We just need to keep battling and try to pull out some wins as the season goes on.”
Roughnecks goaltenders Mike Poulin and Frankie Scigliano stopped a combined 31 of 40 shots, while Tyler Richards and Matt Roik had a combined total of 36 saves for the Stealth.
Three Stars of the Game as selected by the media:
1) Shawn Evans
2) Dane Dobbie
3) Geoff Snider
The Roughnecks are back in action next Saturday, when they welcome the Rochester Knighthawks to the Scotiabank Saddledome at 7:00 MST. The Stealth don’t see action until March 8, when they head to Edmonton to take on the Rush.