The Calgary Roughnecks faithful went home happy Saturday night.
The Roughnecks (now 3-4) defeated the New York Riptide (now 1-8) 13-9 for a much-needed victory in front of 12,384 fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome, their first home win of the season.
“I think it was much-needed. We obviously haven’t been performing at home, and I think our fans deserve better,” said Roughnecks goaltender Christian Del Bianco.
“I think tonight we kind of took it personal and went out there and tried to give them a performance they could be proud of, and that’s the end result.”
The Roughnecks jumped out to a quick two-goal lead less than two minutes into the contest off goals by Rhys Duch and Shane Simpson. The Riptide would answer back midway through the first quarter with two quick markers of their own to tie the game.
Simpson would add another marker shortly before the end of the opening frame to give the Roughnecks the 3-2 lead heading into the second quarter.
Each team’s defenses stood tough for the majority of the second frame, with the first marker not coming until the 10:22 mark from Roughnecks’ Dan Taylor. Zach Herreweyers would add another shortly after Taylor’s marker before Kieran McArdle chipped into the Roughnecks lead, making it 5-3 heading into the break.
“It was nice to get going right away coming off the bye week. It’s never easy to get your legs going,” said Roughnecks forward Shane Simpson.
“Getting that one early and then the second one in the first period was definitely big for me.”
The Roughnecks came out firing to start the third quarter, scoring the first three goals to extend their lead to 8-3, first one off the stick of Dereck Down and the next two from Tyler Pace.
The two clubs would then exchange goals before the Riptide went on a run of their own to close out the third quarter, narrowing the Roughnecks lead to 9-7 heading into the final frame.
But the Roughnecks wasted no time putting the game to bed early in the fourth quarter, scoring the first three goals of the stanza, with Taylor and Duch each tallying their seconds goals of the game and Mitch Wilde getting his first of the game.
With all four Roughnecks losses this season coming by a total of six goals, Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky said it was nice for the team to finally be rewarded for a hard-fought game.
“It wasn’t the cleanest game in situational play, but the compete level was really good and we talked about being composed in key situations. You build that composure then you become a resilient team. When you’re a resilient group, then you get belief. That’s one of the core values we believe in,” said Malawsky.
“We went on our runs, they went on their runs and we answered. That’s a good teambuilding thing.”
The Roughnecks offense was led by a six-point night from Duch (two goals, four assists), while the Riptide were headed by Connor Kelly’s five-point (four goals, one assist) outing.
Between the pipes, Del Bianco finished with 42 saves on 51 shots, while Riptide goaltender Alex Buque stopped 36 of the 48 shots fired his way.
The Roughnecks will now head back on another extended break before returning to action in two weeks when they head to Georgia to take on the Swarm on Feb. 22.
One key and noticeable addition to the Roughnecks lineup beginning with the game in Georgia will be the return of Dane Dobbie, following a six-game suspension.
With what Dobbie is able to do on the field, especially on the power play, as well as off the field, Malawsky said his return is going to be very welcomed.
“I think everyone can look and see how much it hurts with Dobbie not being there. He’s been in the room and around the guys after the games when he’s allowed to come in, and he’s a big part,” said Malawsky.
“Looking back into last year and into this year, when we have a full lineup, we’re 9-1. So, it’d be nice to put a full lineup out there and give it go. But sometimes when you come off the season you had last year and then have to battle through some adversity, it hardens you up and puts some scars on your face and scars on the team. That will only bode well down the stretch.”
- Tyler Pace (CGY)
- Rhys Duch (CGY)
- Christian Del Bianco (CGY)