Calgary Roughnecks (11-6) visit Vancouver Stealth (4-13) at Langley Events Centre on Saturday 10pm ET. (Photo: Derek Stevens)
The Calgary Roughnecks (11-6) visit the Vancouver Stealth (4-13) for the season finale at Langley Events Centre on Saturday at 10 p.m. ET. Watch the game live on YouTube via The Lacrosse Network.
Calgary was able to avoid a season sweep to the Edmonton Rush last weekend after a hard-fought overtime victory, winning the rivalry game at Rexall Place in overtime by a score of 14-13.
The Roughnecks lost all three previous meetings this season but were able to hand Edmonton their second loss of the season.
“Edmonton’s a phenomenal team, so for us to show well against them was good for our confidence and good for our team,” said Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky. “They handled us easily in the first three games and that was like a playoff game, we were down, then we battled back, and we were able to pull it out late in the game”
Even though there were no playoff implications stemming from the game, Riggers transition player Geoff Snider knows how big the win was for his club.
“It was huge for us, they’re the team to beat,” he said. “It’s important for us to focus on what we do and to be able to have some success there. The game meant nothing in the standings but it certainly meant a lot for us as a playoff team, and it was important for us to crank it up moving forward to the post-season.”
Curtis ‘Superman’ Dickson built on his success this season, as he earned his nickname last weekend scoring seven goals- including the overtime winner against the Rush.
“When 'Dickers' is hot, we've got to get him the ball,” said Malawsky. “He was feeling it, so it was a testament to our guys offensively to create some space for him and they were able to get him the ball in prime scoring areas. When he gets a chance one on one with goaltenders, he’s pretty successful. He had a great game, he’s one our best guys and it shows he’s just getting better and better.”
Turning the page to this weekend, the 'Necks have their final game of the 2014 season this Saturday against the Stealth. Even though this game won’t affect playoffs, Malawsky says Vancouver will be looking to go out on a high note.
“You look up and down that Stealth roster and it just screams character," he said. "I’ve coached a few of them and battled against a lot of them over the years, and there’s no quit in that group.“
Calgary heads into Vancouver attempting to sweep the season series after winning all three of the previous meetings.
“They’re competitors, this is certainly a place they haven’t been before and they’re still the same group that were in the finals a couple years back, and knocked us out of the playoffs,” said Snider. “We’re just going to keep focusing on what we do regardless of the outcome, and I’m expecting it to be an awesome lacrosse game.”
Malawsky knows the Stealth organization may be going through hard times this season, but doesn’t underestimate them going into Saturday.
“We expect an intense, physical game which we’ve had over the years against the Stealth,” he said. “It’s nice for us, were able to get guys that needed a little bit of a rest last weekend back into the lineup… we’re looking at this as getting our full complement of guys on the floor as if it’s a playoff game. It’s going be a great night.”
After a 10-5 loss to the Edmonton Rush on Friday night, the Stealth will be looking to finish off the season on a high note and avoid the season sweep against the Roughnecks on Fan Appreciation Night celebrating their first season in Vancouver.
"I think it’s really important to show the fans that this team has character and that there’s no quit in the team,” said Stealth head coach Chris Hall. “It’s been an unfortunate start, yet we've had really good support from our fans. They've been loyal to us all year, so we need to show them the time and money they invested in us is well spent, and that we aim to be a quality franchise for many years."
Coach Hall knows that even though Calgary has secured a playoff spot, he expects them to come out with lots of energy, as they try to build momentum for the playoffs.
"They've got things to plan for and things to work on,” said Hall. “They'll be playing in a huge playoff game the following week so they have to be looking to peak and ramp it up for that playoff game. I'll expect they'll be playoff prepped and working to be ready for next week’s playoffs."
The Stealth will also have some extra motivation of their own this weekend, as the Roughnecks have taken it to the Stealth this season outscoring them 48-29.
For Stealth captain Kyle Sorensen, this will be his first game against the Roughnecks this season and he is looking forward to helping the team finish the season on a high note.
"Because I was hurt most of the year I didn't get a chance to play Calgary so I'm definitely looking forward to getting out there and battling with the guys and showing the fans what we can do here in Vancouver, not only this weekend, but in the future as well.”
Fan Appreciation Night will be the final opportunity of the season for fans to see their favorite Stealth players up close, as the full Stealth roster will be signing autographs following Saturday’s game. The Bombshells and Bomber the Fox will also be signing autographs for fans post-game.