By: Alex Medina
A rivalry that goes back for years will be reignited in a battle of the top two teams in the NLL’s West Division.
The Calgary Roughnecks will welcome the two-time defending NLL champs, the Saskatchewan Rush, tonight at 7 p.m. at the Scotiabank Saddledome, in a key matchup with first place in the West Division on the line.
The Roughnecks are coming off an impressive 12-8 home win against the Colorado Mammoth on Jan. 28, in a game that saw Jeff Shattler become the all-time leading scorer in franchise history, surpassing Kaleb Toth’s previous mark of 628 points.
Shattler ended the game with a goal and four assists, to set the new mark of 633 points in eleven seasons with the Roughnecks.
The victory marked the Roughnecks third straight, improving their record to 3-1 on the year so far, good for first place in the West Division.
The Rush come into town following a 16-12 victory over the Vancouver Stealth on Jan. 27, setting them back to .500, after starting of the 2017 season with an 0-2 record.
This will be the first of four matchups that the two rivals will have this season, following their last meeting during the 2016 playoffs when the Rush defeated the Roughnecks in the West Division Final, in route to their second consecutive league title.
This will also mark the first game that Riley Loewen will face his former team, since being traded over from the Rush to the Roughnecks back in September.
During the 2016 season series, the Rush swept the Roughnecks in all four meetings, outscoring the Roughnecks 52-40 in the four games.
Leading the way with points for the 2017 season for the Roughnecks is Curtis Dickson, who has accumulated 25 points, 14 goals and 11 assists, in four games played, with the duo of Shattler and Dobbie producing 21 and 20 points respectively.
For the Rush, they are led by Mark Matthews, who currently sits third in league scoring with 31 points, 9 goals and 22 assists.
In addition to the games action, fans are encouraged to bring new or gently-used lacrosse and hockey gear for an equipment drive to collection bins located around the concourse.
Equipment will be accepted until halftime and will support the Roughnecks EvenStrength program, one of the aid programs for the Calgary Roughnecks Foundation.