The Calgary Roughnecks (7-7) will look for their second straight win when they host the San Diego Seals (8-4) Saturday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky said in order to take down a well-oiled machine like the Seals, they will need to bring a consistent effort to the floor.
“We have to recognize that our inconsistency has been a detriment to us at times, and we’re making some adjustments to alleviate that so we’re consistent in all areas,” said Malawsky.
“We’re a straight blue-collar team that needs to prepare like every game’s our last. When we do that, we’re good. When we don’t, we’re not.”
An example of the consistent gameplay the Roughnecks are capable of was illustrated last weekend in a 12-9 road victory over the Rochester Knighthawks.
Malawsky said the effort his club put forth in the contest is the same effort it’s going to take if they want to inch closer to the division-leading Seals on Saturday night.
“I thought our compete level was good for 60 minutes. We stayed the course for the entire game,” said Malawsky.
“There were highs and lows of the game where we didn’t get too low and we didn’t panic. We played confident and played within ourselves.”
Despite this being their inaugural season, the Seals currently sit atop the West Division standings, putting together a season story similar to that of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights last year.
But regardless of their expansion team tag, Malawsky said they play like a team that’s been in the league for years.
“They’re a fairly disciplined team. They control the ball well, they control momentum well, they capitalize on momentum shifts in the game, and they compete extremely hard,” said Malawsky.
“I said earlier in the year this isn’t an expansion team. They’re at the top of the table for a reason.”
One of the many keys to success for the Seals has been their balanced offensive attack.
While they don’t currently have a player in the top 15 league point leaders, they possess a full lineup that’s a threat to score anytime they’re on the floor.
“It’s always tough on a defense when there’s not one or two guys you can key in on to try and shut down an offense,” said Roughnecks forward Curtis Dickson.
“They have five guys on the floor at all times that are able to burn you and put the ball in the back of your net.”
Dickson is coming off a massive offensive game himself last week, torching the Knighthawks for nine points (five goals, four assists).
After missing the first four games of the season, Dickson has now climbed into the top 25 in league scoring, and is continuing to elevate his play at the perfect time.
“Offensively, it’s about moving the ball and moving your feet, as cliché as that might sound,” said Dickson.
“After you have a week like we did against Colorado, you have to get back to the basics, back to your grass roots of lacrosse, and just keep your feet moving and keep the ball moving.”
With a victory Saturday night, the Roughnecks will clinch a playoff spot, and can also do so with a Vancouver Warriors loss.
Although clinching a playoff spot, no matter how it’s accomplished, is the main goal, Dickson said doing so with a win is a far bigger boost than clinching with a loss.
“It’s step one of our goals for the season; you need to make the dance in order to win the championship,” said Dickson.
“You’ve seen it in years past, having momentum going into the playoffs is huge, so it’s important for us to be winning games heading in.”