By Joel Griffith | Staff Writer
Photo Credit Candice Ward
Despite a valiant fourth quarter comeback attempt, the Calgary Roughnecks dug themselves a hole too deep to climb out of, falling to the Vancouver Stealth 13-10 at the Scotiabank Saddledome Saturday night.
Slow starts continue to be theme for the Roughnecks, as they fell behind early once again, giving up the first five goals of the contest, in front of 9,361 fans.
“The start killed us,” said Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky.
“We were battling from behind again, and once you do that, it’s pretty tough to win in this league.”
Malawsky was quick to shoulder the blame for the slow start, and said the team “gave everything they had.”
“The start is 100 per cent on me,” said Malawsky.
“It’s my job as a coach to prepare these guys, and I didn’t have them prepared for the first half.”
After being down 10-4 at the half, the Roughnecks began to mount a comeback, pulling to within three goals early in the fourth quarter. But a three-goal deficit was as close as they would come.
“It was one of those would’ve, could’ve, should’ve things,” said Roughnecks F Curtis Dickson.
“You can’t go down six or seven goals, and expect to win the game.”
The largest deficit of the game for the Roughnecks came at 4:58 of the third quarter, as the Stealth built an 11-4 lead. The Roughnecks answered the bell with four straight goals, but Dickson said they needed to play the full 60 minutes the way they played the second half.
“Offensively, this game may have been a 15-minute effort,” said Dickson.
“We dug ourselves too deep of a hole, and it’s unacceptable.”
Roughnecks G Frank Scigliano allowed three goals on just five shots early in the first quarter, and said there’s no excuse for his poor play early in the contest.
“In the first quarter, I let the boys down,” said Scigliano.
“It’s a frustrating feeling when these guys are battling hard, and I’m not making the saves.”
Scigliano was pulled after allowing his second goal, but returned to the net a quick two minutes later. Scigliano said he received a few words of encouragement from Malawsky, before he was hurried back into the net.
“He [Malawsky] told me he has faith in me,” said Scigliano.
“He said to just stick with it, and it’ll come.”
Once again, Stealth forward and NLL leading scorer Corey Small played a key role in his squad’s victory, notching eight points on the evening (four goals, four assists). Small said his team did almost everything right, and said it was a much different look from their last five games.
“When our defense can hold them to one goal, it takes a lot more pressure off us [forwards],” said Small.
“When you go up 6-1 after the first quarter, it gives you a big opportunity to win the game.”
Stealth G Tyler Belanger played an essential part in the victory, especially early in the contest, allowing a total of 10 goals on 54 shots.
For the Roughnecks, Scigliano and Christian Del Bianco shared the cage, with Scigliano allowing nine goals on 37 shots, and Del Bianco four goals on 14 shots.
Small lead the Stealth in scoring with his eight points, while F Dane Dobbie’s seven points (three goals, four assists) commanded the Roughnecks offense.
The Roughnecks will now head out on the road for a date with the Saskatchewan Rush on Saturday, Feb. 25.