Bros will be on show Saturday night as the Malcom brothers and Panther City Lacrosse Club travel to Calgary to take on the Roughnecks’ Currier siblings in a crucial late-season contest with plenty of playoff implications.
“It’s huge,” says PCLC transition player Tony Malcom. “If we win this game, it pretty much locks us in for a playoff spot.”
The Roughnecks have already clinched a spot in the postseason, but Panther City is looking to book their first trip to the playoffs in just the franchise’s second season. Calgary currently sits second in the NLL’s West Conference at 10-5, a game ahead of PCLC in third at 9-6 and and is trying to clinch a home playoff game.
“The fact that this team’s only been in existence two years, it speaks volumes to what [GM Bob] Hamley and TK [head coach Tracey Kelusky], [D coordinator Steve] Toll and [O coordinator Kyle] Goundrey have done in such short a time,” Malcom says.
Malcom, 29, is a seven-year NLL veteran with stops in Buffalo, Vancouver, New England, Albany and now Panther City this season. His younger brother Will, 23, is PCLC’s leading scorer (and goal-scorer at 33) and eighth in the league with 88 points.
The brothers from the suburban Vancouver lacrosse hotbed of New Westminster, British Columbia, home of the storied Salmonbellies, are in their first season playing together as pros.
“It’s a lot of fun; I’m quite a few years older than him,” says Tony. “It’s very special, it’s even more special for my family and it’s obviously something that will be even more special looking back upon.”
But Malcom and PCLC are firmly focused on the present, which includes Saturday’s Western-flavored showdown with the Roughnecks on WestJet Field at Scotiabank Saddledome in the NLL Game of the Week on TSN (9 pm ET; ESPN+).
Despite being conference foes, it will be the first game this season between the two teams. They also meet up again on April 21 at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, TX. The pairing could also be a potential playoff matchup.
“They run, they got a lot of athletes,” Malcom says. “We got athletes, obviously might be down a few guys because of injury, but I think this game will be won between the lines.”
Between the lines is where Calgary’s Zach Currier excels as the NLL’s reigning Transition Player of the Year. Currier, second in the league this year with 35 caused turnovers and third with 199 loose balls, and his older brother Josh are in their first season together as pros as well.
“Zach and I played together every other year growing up, now we both live in different [Canadian] provinces so being on the same NLL team allows for us to spend weekends together so that’s been awesome,” says Josh, 29, of his brother who is a year younger.
“Zach is also one of the best players in the NLL, so it’s really nice to have him on your team when he can be such a game-changer.”
The Roughnecks hope their game changes after a 14-8 road loss last week to league- and West-leading San Diego. Calgary was without forward Tyler Pace, second in team scoring with 65 points, and veteran D/transition player Jeff Cornwall. PCLC won last week at home, 12-8 against a struggling Albany team.
“I think it’s very important that we come out and play the way we know we can,” Currier, a six-year NLL veteran who has also played in Rochester, Philadelphia, Saskatchewan and now with the Roughnecks, says of facing PCLC. “We didn’t have our best game last week so it’s important that we get back to playing our game on Saturday.”
The elder Malcom is familiar with the Curriers, who hail from another legendary lacrosse hotbed in Peterborough, Ontario.
“This is their first year playing together as well; I [have] played against both of them,” says Malcom. “Josh was in Philly and I was in New England, so I’m well aware of his capabilities offensively. Zach, he might be one of the most valuable players in the league. It’ll certainly be a game to watch and a game that we all look forward to.”
Malcom and PCLC will be trying to slow down Calgary’s transition game by fighting fire with fire.
“In terms of transition, it’s just about getting on and off as quickly as possible,” says Malcom. “We’re obviously going to be taking care with a few things [and] possibly having some guys run both ways.”
Malcom is a forward-turned-transition player who has been chipping in offensively this season for PCLC with six goals and 11 assists as well as 89 LBs and 12 CTOs. “I just try and make plays all over the floor,” he says.
Malcom’s best season points-wise was in 2018 with the then-Vancouver Stealth (23 goals, 47 points). He also has playoff experience from his first year in the league with Buffalo. The Bandits made it to the NLL Finals that season, falling short to Saskatchewan.
“Back in 2016 I was a rookie, and this [PCLC] is a very young team so hopefully I’ll be able to shed some wisdom as to what it’s like playing, possibly, an extra two months,” Malcom says.
The Roughnecks, three-time NLL champions in 2004, 2009 and most recently 2019, are looking to add to their postseason resume. So is the older Currier, who played in the NLL Finals in 2018 when Rochester lost to Saskatchewan.
“This league is super competitive, getting to the playoffs and knowing you have a shot at the championship is very special,” says Currier, sixth on Calgary in scoring this year with 32 points (15 goals). “This is my sixth season and only my second time going to the playoffs so it’s something you can’t take for granted.
“I got so close to winning the [NLL Cup] in 2018 and it’s something I think about a lot. I think I learned from that experience, I really want to get back there with this [Roughnecks] team because I think the dynamics here are something special.