Coming off a convincing 17-7 road win against the Vancouver Stealth (0-1), the New England Black Wolves (1-0) look to keep the momentum going as they head into the team’s first doubleheader weekend of the season. The pack faces off against the Calgary Roughnecks (0-2) on Friday night at 7 p.m. ET for the home opener at Mohegan Sun Arena.
“I don’t think we could’ve asked for a better start,” said New England Black Wolves head coach Glenn Clark. “The nicest part for us was how we won. It was predictable, it was systematic, and that’s exactly how we want to play.”
The Black Wolves dominated offensively against the Vancouver Stealth (0-1), however the 10-goal difference was not the most impressive statistic of the game. Almost every single forward on the active roster had a hand in one of the 17 goals scored, through scoring it or assisting it. The pack wants to maintain that kind of ball movement and team effort heading into their games this weekend.
“The contributions on offense are essential because it’s almost like a living, breathing thing,” Clark stated. “Everybody plays a part in the spacing and the ball movements as a whole. They all have to play their part and fulfill their role in order for it to work.”
Pat Saunders led the way with eight points on four goals and four assists to start the 2016 season. Shawn Evans followed close behind with four goals and two assists in his first game in a Black Wolves uniform. Though there was no formal announcement made by the team, it did not go unnoticed that Evans’ uniform donned a “C.”
“Shawn has a special skill set in terms of how he sees the ball and the game as a whole,” Clark said. “He makes everyone else around him better. He’s very engaged with the coaching staff and the decision-making, and he’s all about the team. He’s one of those guys who just wants to win.”
Evans’ leadership and the Black Wolves’ chemistry on offense are going to be tested as they face a Roughnecks team that has lost by a combination of just three goals this season. Calgary is very strong offensively, but the defense has given up key goals in the fourth quarter of each of their losses. While their record would give some head coaches a bit of confidence going into the game, Glenn Clark is being extremely cautious going into the home opener on Friday night.
“Calgary’s 0-2 but they are not a 0-2 team,” Clark stated. “They are dangerous offensively and they have a big athletic defense. [Jeff] Shattler and [Dane] Dobbie keep the left side active and can slip the ball through tight windows. Curtis Dickson is such a 1-on-1 threat and you have to be smart in how you defend him. They present a lot of challenges.”
The New England Black Wolves (1-0) take on the Calgary Roughnecks (0-2) on Friday night at 7 p.m. ET at Mohegan Sun Arena, and hit the road to face the Georgia Swarm (1-1) on Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. ET.
Story by Alyssa McLaughlin (@BlackWolvesBeat) for NLL.com.