That’s more like it.
The Calgary Roughnecks got back to their winning ways from earlier in the season, defeating the Vancouver Warriors 8-5, and snapping their three-game losing streak in the process at the Scotiabank Saddledome Saturday night.
“It was a good confidence-builder for us. You have to win those tight games,” said head coach Curt Malawsky.
“Full marks for the battle. That was a true playoff lacrosse game.”
The victory didn’t come easy for the Roughnecks, however, as they found themselves in a 3-0 hole just 4:04 into the contest, with two of the markers coming from Warriors leading scorer Logan Schuss.
From that point, the Roughnecks tightened up defensively, allowing only two Warriors goals for the remainder of the game, riding a strong performance from goaltender Christian Del Bianco, while slowly picking away at the deficit.
“I’ve said it from day one; we don’t worry about Christian Del Bianco,” said Malawsky.
“We know he’s so headstrong and is going to be the backbone of our backend, and he did that.”
The Roughnecks earned their first lead of the game midway through the third quarter off a Curtis Dickson goal, and took that 5-4 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Warriors’ Mitch Jones found the tying goal early in the fourth quarter before Roughnecks’ Mitch Wilde gave the home squad the lead for good three minutes later.
Dane Dobbie led the Roughnecks offense with a five-point (one goal, four assists) effort, while Jones guided the Warriors offense with five points (one goals, four assists).
Dickson finished the evening with three goals, which he said felt good after a slow start to the season.
“I don’t think I played terribly the first few games, but I just wasn’t burying my chances. I was getting looks, but the ball just wasn’t falling for me,” said Dickson.
“It’s just one of those things; you got to shoot until you get hot and just keep shooting.”
Despite the win, the Roughnecks managed only eight goals, which marks their third consecutive game with single-digit goal totals.
While the win was key for morale and the standings, Dickson said he and the rest of the offense know they have a lot of work to do if they want remain in the win column.
“Eight goals isn’t going to win you a ton of games in this league,” said Dickson.
“When our defense and goaltender play the way they did for the last three and a half quarters was nothing short of spectacular. We have them to thank for tonight.”
Del Bianco finished the night with 35 saves on 40 shots, good for a .875 save percentage. At the other end, Warriors goaltender Eric Penney was equally impressive, stopping 42 of the 50 shots he faced.
Despite the strong outing, Del Bianco was quick to recognize the players in front him, and said defensive showings like tonight are a team effort.
“I think our defense playing fantastic,” said Del Bianco.
“I think the key to that is six guys playing together. It’s not just one guy making plays; it’s a bunch of guys making little plays, and it all adds up to the end result.”
Although the offense continued to struggle finding the back of the net, it was a major turnaround for the defense after allowing 16 goals, 15 goals and 12 goals in the past three games.
Del Bianco said it was a big win in a key divisional matchup, and said there were plenty of positives to build off going into Saturday’s matchup in Saskatoon.
“It’s a character win. I’m not going to brighten it up; going on three-games slides sucks,” said Del Bianco.
“It’s a big thing to show your character, and show that enough is enough, especially in front of the home crowd. Our fans pay to see us and we want to put on a good show for them.”
- Dane Dobbie (CGY)
- Curtis Dickson (CGY)
- Eric Penney (VAN)