Relief may be an understatement for the Calgary Roughnecks (1-6) as the team finally got its first win of the season by defeating the Vancouver Stealth (3-4) by a score of 16-13 at home in front of 11,645 roaring fans at the Roughhouse.
“It was a tight, hard fought game,” said Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky. “We had games like that earlier in the year where the bounces just didn’t go in. They hit bars that didn’t go in and we made some shots that did go in so that’s such a fine line in the NLL. I think we just stuck to the process, we kept our composure and just stayed the course.”
“One night you have good defense, one night you can have good offense,” Malawsky continued. “I think the reason that we did win is because we had strong goaltending, solid defense, a phenomenal transition game, we had good contribution up front on the offensive end and our power-play was 70%… I think all facets of our game tonight were solid.”
“I thought there was some major efforts tonight,” said Roughnecks captain Andrew McBride. “Mike Carnegie played one of the best games I’ve ever seen him play, Frank (Scigliano) and of course Curtis Dickson. Really good to see the guys get rewarded because all week we’ve been answering questions about effort, commitment and buying in, I thought all those things came to fruition tonight.”
It was only 2-1 in favor the Stealth after the first quarter, but then the goals started to find the twine in the second. Vancouver mustered up four goals in the frame while Calgary managed to get six to take a 7-6 lead into the half.
From that point on, it was the Curtis Dickson show as Superman entered beast mode scoring five of his seven goals on the night in the second half.
“The ball was just going in the net,” Curtis Dickson said about his performance tonight. “That’s a testament to our offense tonight. We played well, we moved the ball well and I was finding myself open. The ball was dropping for me, so it was good to finally get that feeling.”
“We had a little back-and-forth this week with Curtis Dickson,” Malawsky said. “He stepped up tonight in a big, big way. He takes a lot of abuse out there, he gets held, he gets hammered and he just stayed the course, stayed on his feet and just competed and battled. He’s a special lacrosse player. He can put teams on his back and he gets big goals at big times and that’s what makes him very good.”
“Curtis was very good tonight,” admitted Stealth head coach Dan Perreault. “He’s a hard guy to stop and between the power-plays and 5-on-5, it was his night tonight.”
The Stealth has beaten Calgary twice so far this season, after losing all four games to the Riggers last year. Nevertheless, tonight just wasn’t the night for the Vancouver Stealth.
“It comes down to winning the little battles,” Perreault said. “We lost a couple and they turned into goals. Special teams was a difference tonight, Corey Small scores a goal to make it 9-8 and ended up taking a five-minute penalty, then they rattle off three power-play goals. That was the turning point in the game I thought.”
“I don’t think we had our best game tonight,” Perreault added. “We just didn’t’ seem to have our legs for whatever reason, we just seemed a little slow and offensively I don’t think we we’re moving our feet enough. We had a lot of shots that were blocked, passes that were picked off and that’s usually a result of not moving your feet to get open and we didn’t cut enough.”
Malawsky may be sporting a smile for now, but he understands there is still a lot of work to be done before heading into Rochester next weekend.
“It’s only one game,” Malawsky stated. “We got a vision of where we want to go and now we know how to get there. We’re going to enjoy this one tonight and saddle up for next week because we’re going into the defending champs and that’s where we lost the championship, so I think there’s some added motivation for our guys to go out there and compete.”
Captain McBride and forward Dickson couldn’t agree more with their coach.
“I know it’s not where we want to be at 1-6,” McBride said. “Obviously we’re going to re-focus after tonight and be prepared, but it’s a positive thing that can get the ball rolling in a positive direction. I think you build of this, you have to look at the efforts we had and point to some guys and acknowledge those guys… just like momentum has kind of carried us downwards, hopefully this game propels us to get us momentum in a positive direction.”
“We’re still 1-6, we’re looking 1-6 in the eyes and it’s not good enough,” Dickson said. “We’ve got a long ways to go if we want to get ourselves into a playoff position, so we have to carry this momentum into next week and into the rest of the season.”
Three Stars of the Game as selected by the media:
1) Curtis Dickson
2) Mike Carnegie
3) Tyler Richards
By Kassidy Collins (@RoughnecksBeat) for NLL.com. Photo by Rob McMorris.