After starting off with an 0-6 record, the Calgary Roughnecks fought back throughout the year and made the playoffs with a pressure-packed win in the do-or-die regular season finale. The Roughnecks then took the next step by knocking off the Colorado Mammoth on the road in the first round’s West Semifinal, setting up a rematch with the Edmonton Rush for the West Finals. Bob Chavez
“Here and there is fine, it happens,” Chavez writes. “But 6 times in the last 8 seasons? Now that’s a trend, and while any win in the National Lacrosse League doesn’t come easily, this year’s playoff win for the Calgary Roughnecks over the Colorado Mammoth had to have been especially sweet. Yes, the Riggers eliminated the Mammoth in the first round for the sixth-straight meeting since 2008, but given where the Roughnecks were just a couple of months ago, Saturday’s playoff win wasn’t as expected as it might have been in years past.”
“Playoffs is a brand new season,” Calgary forward Curtis Dickson told CalgaryRoughnecks.com.
Indeed, it is a fresh start. And if any team needed that, it was Calgary. The Roughnecks’ well-chronicled 0-6 start to the season was as much a stunner as there can be in the NLL. Especially when this is a Calgary team that played in last season’s finals and brought in a roster that was pretty much unchanged.
But it was clear that something wasn’t working early this season. Three of the first 6 losses were by 1 goal, but they were still losses. And even though the outlook was bleak, you still got the sense that writing off this Calgary team would be a mistake. Even when the Riggers were 3-9 by the end of March, that sense remained.
Calgary went 4-2 in April and perhaps the most important aspect of clinching a playoff spot is that the Riggers did it themselves by beating Vancouver in the regular-season finale. No backing in, and when you can take care of business yourself, the confidence that adds to the team concept cannot be understated.
“It was a long road,” coach Curt Malawsky told CalgaryRoughnecks.com. “I think we’re better for what we went through this year – the adversity, the ups and downs and having to scrap our way to get to the West Final. We’ll enjoy it tonight and we’re going to prepare for a real tough Edmonton team.”
And while there are plenty of reasons to point to for the success of Calgary, including so many of the intangibles, one of the biggest tangibles is in goal. Frankie Scigliano overtook Mike Poulin for the No. 1 job a few weeks into the season and he came up big again on Saturday with some clutch stops that kept the potent Colorado offense from establishing any sort of momentum…