Playing solely for pride, the Calgary Roughnecks were determined to end the season with a win.
The Roughnecks came away with a 14-7 victory against their rivals, the Saskatchewan Rush in front of a regular season record crowd of 18,845 at the Scotiabank Saddledome to finish off the 2017 regular season.
Coming into the matchup, the Roughnecks knew their season was going to end earlier than what they would have liked, missing the post-season for the first time since 2002. Despite finishing the year on the outside looking in, the job wasn’t done just yet, as they were able to finally pick up a win against the Rush.
“I asked them to do two things, one was to enjoy the atmosphere and the second was to leave it all out there on the turf,” head coach Curt Malawsky said.
“It was a great a game for our fans, the only way we could’ve thanked them was with a win and the way the game went was a way to say thank you very much for the support all these years.”
The Roughnecks end the season with a similar record to last year with an 8-10 record, finishing fourth in the West Division, while the Rush finish with a 12-6 mark, good for another first place finish.
Coming in, the Riggers were hoping to not only send their fans home happy, but to also finally exorcise past demons in finally defeating their longtime rivals.
“Ending an eleven game losing streak against the Rush is always nice. It cleans the slate for next year which is exactly what we wanted,” Holden Cattoni said.
“It’s a great way to finish the year, coach challenged us to finish it on a high note and play for each other. I thought we finished off strong and that speaks to a lot of the talent that we have in this locker room,” Dan MacRae said.
In what was a complete team performance, everything seemed to click, from Frank Scigliano and the defence standing tall and preventing the Rush from getting on a roll offensively that they have been able to accomplish various times during the season, to the offence racking up the goals.
Dane Dobbie and Curtis Dickson led the way offensively for the Roughnecks with six points each, while Scigliano finished the game with 53 saves, to earn win number eight on the year and earned high praise from his coach.
“I tell him I don’t look at the numbers, but I look at the numbers. He was 88%, he was real good,” Malawsky said.
“We have good young goalies that are going to get better and better.”
Adam Jones led the Rush with four points, while Tyler Carlson made 17 saves, splitting playing time with Aaron Bold who made 15 saves.
The time to reflect on what went wrong and what worked has begun, as they’ll look to bounce back and start a new playoff streak for next season.
“Did we all learn lessons this year? Of course,” Malawsky said.
“But there’s no excuses. We have to regroup.”