After appearing to be well on their way to victory in their season-opener, the Calgary Roughnecks were unable to hold off the late comeback of the Vancouver Warriors, eventually falling 14-13 in overtime Saturday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
The Roughnecks extended their lead to 13-8 just 28 seconds into the fourth quarter, before the Warriors scored five unanswered goals to finish off regulation time, plus the overtime winner at 4:17.
“It’s a good learning lesson for us. We squandered a lead, but it’s better now than later and we just have to learn from it,” said head coach Curt Malawsky.
“If we don’t learn from it, then we should hang our heads. But I fully expect our guys to learn from this and be better in Vancouver.”
After a back-and-forth first 25 minutes, the Roughnecks finished the second quarter off with three unanswered goals to take a 9-6 lead into the dressing room.
They would go on to build that lead to 12-8 entering the final quarter of play before the Warriors began to take over the game.
Fortunately for Malawsky and his Roughnecks, they will have an opportunity at revenge in six days when they head to Vancouver for the second half of a home-and-home set.
“They were hooting and hollering in our rink, and making sure we heard it,” said Malawsky.
“At the end of the day, our guys will have to watch some film and us coaches will come up with a game plan. I know it’s not sitting very well in the dressing room right now, so we’ll know in six days if it really hit home or not.”
Dane Dobbie led the Roughnecks in scoring, tallying nine points (five goals, four assists) in the losing effort, while Logan Schuss tallied nine points (three goals, six assists) of his own to lead the Warriors.
But despite his impressive offensive effort, Dobbie said it’s not a factor if the team doesn’t score enough goals to win the game.
“My job is to score goals, and I didn’t score enough tonight,” said Dobbie.
“Everybody’s just supposed to do their job. We did it for 50 minutes, and didn’t do it for the last 10.”
Despite the loss, the Roughnecks did an excellent job staying out of the penalty box, accumulating just six minutes in penalties. Additionally, their power play proved to be effective, cashing in on four of the seven man-advantages they were awarded.
Between the pipes, the Warriors’ Aaron Bold was the busier of the two goaltenders, stopping 43 of the 56 shots that came his way. At the other end, Christian Del Bianco finished with 32 saves on 46 shots.
After joining the Roughnecks in the off-season, Rhys Duch was playing against his long-time former team for the first time. Duch finished his Roughnecks debut with four points (one goal, three assists).
Duch said he’s disappointed in the result and his performance, and admitted he let his emotions get the better of him early in the contest.
“I got a little too emotional. I didn’t have a great performance in the first quarter. The highs were a little too high and the lows were a little too low,” said Duch.
“Being a veteran of the sport and new to the team, I need to do a better job of controlling my emotions.”
After storming back from five goals down in the fourth quarter, it was quite the opposite feeling in the Warriors dressing room post-game.
Schuss said to earn a win in the fashion they did in the first game of the season is huge. He said it shows all the younger players and new players what this team is capable of when they put their foot down.
“It really showed the resilience of this group. With only eight returning guys and a lot of new guys to the league, a lot of people counted us out,” said Schuss.
“It’s all about who believes in each other in the dressing room, and if you believe it, you achieve it.”
1. Dane Dobbie
2. Logan Schuss
3. Keegan Bal