After one of the league's most dominating first halves in nearly a decade, the Calgary Roughnecks (6-3) drilled the Toronto Rock (4-6) with a 19-13 home win before a crowd of 8,990 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night.
Curtis Dickson was a monster on the floor with six goals and four assists for 10 points on the night as Calgary was looking to extend their three-game win streak going in.
“We’re rolling right now as a team,” said Roughnecks forward Curtis Dickson. “We got the win tonight, that’s four in a row now, so hopefully we can keep rolling in to next weekend.”
The Roughnecks jumped on the Rock early in the game scoring the game’s first seven goals; Dickson scored four of those seven. Roughnecks Coach Curt Malawsky praised his player after the game.
“He (Dickson) plays with a lot of emotion and a lot of passion," he said. "If we can catch teams in certain situations with him on the floor and the guys give him the ball when he’s hot, that’s key.”
Toronto Rock head coach John Lovell didn’t feel as though his team deserved to be down by that margin.
“I think we felt even know it was seven nothing, it shouldn’t have been seven nothing. There was a lack of effort and we left some goals out there that guys should have been able to put in the net and it could have made a difference.”
Toronto’s transition Ethan O’Connor scored his fifth of the season ending Mike Poulin’s shutout early in the second. However, after that, the Poulin Wall did what he does best by shutting the door all game and only allowing 13 goals on 61 shots.
“He’s playing exactly how we want him to play, he’s contributing to this team and he’s a big part of our group, he’s the backbone of the defense” said Malawsky.
Even Toronto’s coach John Lovell had to give props to Poulin.
“Mike is certainly a number one goalie in this league, he’s played well for them and their lucky to have him.”
Roughnecks led 14-6 going in to the half, the 14 goals the most scored by an NLL team in the first 30 minutes in nearly a decade.
The second half saw a lot of back-and-forth play, not the 20 goals as the first half but the momentum started to shift in favor of the Rock. Toronto scored four to the Necks’ one in the third quarter with the shots sitting at 53-38 in favor of the Rock.
The fourth quarter started with a quick goal by Toronto forward Kasey Beirnes just 36 seconds in, after that though, The Rock were only able to get two more goals passed the Poulin Wall. It simply wasn’t enough, with the Neck’s taking the win 19-13.
After the game, coach Lovell responded to the loss.
“The results were awful and it’s a bad weekend for us," he said. "We have the next two weeks off to kind of get healthy, we have a lot of guys banged up and this is always a tough trip.”
While the Toronto Rock (4-6) may be off for the next couple of weeks, the Calgary Roughnecks (6-3) will travel to Colorado (4-7) to take on the Mammoth March.8th at 7:00pm (MST).
Roughnecks goaltender Mike Poulin, known as the “Poulin Wall," topped 48 of 61 shots fired his way to become Calgary's franchise leader in regular-season saves with 2,130, surpassing the previous mark of 2,117 held by Curtis “Shut the Door” Palidwor.
“It means a lot playing in the home barn in front of the home fans,” Poulin said. “It’s a great feeling. It’s one of those things that you kind of share it with your D guys and you share it with everybody in the organization so I’m thrilled.”
Calgary coach Curt Malawsky commended Poulin for coming up with several huge saves throughout the game to prevent the Rock from mounting a comeback.
“It’s not how many he makes, but it’s when he makes them,” Malawsky said. “He’s a big part of our group. He’s the backbone of our defence.”
Meanwhile, Dickson lived up to his ‘Superman’ nickname as he set a career high for points in a game with six goals and four assists.
“I had no idea - it’s cool,” said Dickson, who recorded nine of his points in the first half before scoring a big goal in the final frame to put Calgary up 18-13 with less than three minutes left in the game. “We were just looking to put the game away. It was getting to be a little bit of a nail-biter there. They were starting to come back. Our offence went stale in the third quarter. It was nice to get a couple goals in the fourth to put the game out of reach.”
Malawsky praised Dickson for being ready to play right from the opening buzzer.
“Dickson plays with a lot of emotion and a lot of passion,” Malawsky said. “He’s a real tough check. When guys get him the ball when he’s hot, that’s key. He seems to get one, he gets six.”
Dane Dobbie had a solid showing for the Roughnecks (6-3) as he scored four times to go with two assists, while Shawn Evans and Jeff Shattler finished with a goal and seven helpers each.
Karsen Leung (2g, 2a), Matthew Dinsdae (2g, 1a), Dan MacRae (1g, 1a), Geoff Snider (1g) and Jon Harnett (1a) also got in the action.
Stephan Leblanc led the way with five goals and two assists for the Rock (4-6), which suffered a narrow 11-10 road loss to the Edmonton Rock on Friday night.
“They’re one heck of a lacrosse team there and they had a tough one up in Edmonton,” Malawsky said. “They were a little tired and it was important for us to get a good start and a good jump and that was key.”
Garrett Billings and Kasey Beirnes had two goals and four assists each for the Rock, while Rob Hellyer (2g, 1a), Colin Doyle (1g, 5a) and Ethan O’Connor also scored.
Toronto goalie Nick Rose played the majority of the game for the Rock, aside from a span of 6:34 late in the first quarter and early in the second when Zak Boychuk stopped three of six shots he faced. Rose, who finished with 28 saves, ended up taking the loss.
With the win, the Riggers avenged a season-opening 16-11 setback they suffered to the Rock in Toronto on Jan. 3. Heading into the game, Toronto had won four straight games against Calgary dating back to the 2012 season.
The Riggers led 7-0 after the first quarter and 14-6 heading into the halftime intermission as Dickson led the way with five goals and four helpers.
The Rock then counted five of the next six goals to pull within four goals of the Riggers early in the fourth quarter before Leung and MacRae scored to put Calgary up 17-11
Billings and Leblanc then scored back-to-back markers for Toronto, before Dickson and Evans replied with goals for Calgary to round out the scoring.
Colin Doyle continued to reach some significant milestones as he collected his 800th career assist and also scored his 1,300th career point, becoming just the second player in league history to reach the 1,300 point-plateau.
Next up, the Roughnecks will face the Colorado Mammoth (4-6) in Denver next Saturday night before returning to the friendly confines of the ’Dome on Friday, March 14 when they’ll take on the league-leading Edmonton Rush (8-0).
Three Stars of the Game as selected by the media:
1) Curtis Dickson
2) Mike Poulin
3) Dane Dobbie
Laurence Heinen from CalgaryRoughnecks.com contributed to this report.