The year 2017 ended with a bang for the Calgary Roughnecks (1-2). But not on the scoreboard.
The 9,555 fans that flocked to the Scotiabank Saddledome were treated to a New Year’s fireworks show after watching their team fall 11-7 at the hands of the Colorado Mammoth (3-0), which was about all they had to cheer for.
Up until the third quarter, it was a tightly-contested defensive battle with a 4-4 half-time score. But the second half was all Mammoth.
“They outscored us 4-0 in the third quarter, whereas last weekend we outscored them (Vancouver Stealth) in the third quarter and changed the outcome of the game,” said Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky.
“When you’re down like that and you’re chasing your tail in the fourth quarter, it’s tough. I though we wasted a really good effort by Frank Scigliano.”
Scigliano finished the contest with 42 saves on 52 shots, good for a .808 save percentage. On the opposite end of the floor, Dillon Ward stood strong as usual, making 40 saves on 47 shots, equalling an impressive .851 save percentage.
Before scoring two goals in the final 30 seconds of the game, the Roughnecks had only managed to score five goals, further showing how strong Ward played in the crease.
But Malawsky said although Ward played exceptionally, they weren’t doing what they needed to do to be effective on offense.
“Tip your hat to Dillon Ward; he was good, but we can’t control how he plays, except trying to generate better looks,” said Malawsky.
“We have to find a way to get to the middle of the floor, and we have to push the ball a little more in transition.”
Wesley Berg led all Roughnecks in scoring with four points (two goals, two assists), while Ryan Benesch continued his early offensive assault on the NLL this season with eight points (five goals, three assists).
Roughnecks defenseman Dan MacRae said although the defense played solid overall, one of their focus points was limiting the production of Benesch, which didn’t go as they had hoped.
“He’s a difficult guy to cover because he just kind of lulls around, and finds those soft spots,” said MacRae.
“He’s really good at being off-ball and finding guys when you’re peeking, then the ball swings his way, and it’s only on his stick for a couple seconds. He’s one of the league’s best shooters.”
The penalty kill was a big problem for the Roughnecks in this contest, as they found themselves in the box seven times, which the Mammoth converted into five goals. On the opposite bench, the Mammoth found themselves in the penalty box five times, surrendering three power play goals in the process.
The Roughnecks held a significant edge in the loose balls department, dominating the Mammoth 90-67. In the face-off circle, the Roughnecks also had the edge with a 60.9 winning percentage.
Friday’s contest marked the return of Mammoth defenseman Scott Carnegie to Calgary for the first time in a new uniform.
Carnegie played nine seasons with the Roughnecks before signing with the Mammoth prior to the 2017-18 season. He said although he loved every minute of his time in Calgary, he’s happy to have found a home with the Mammoth.
“It was a little weird for me at first, just being on the other side,” said Carnegie.
“I played a lot of years here, and cherished every one of them.”
Up next for the Roughnecks will be a road date with the Buffalo Bandits on Jan. 6 as they’ll look to get back to .500, while the Mammoth will look to remain undefeated when they host the Saskatchewan Rush Jan. 13.
- Ryan Benesch (COL)
- Dillon Ward (COL)
- Jeremy Noble (COL)