Talk about a quick turnaround.
After defeating the San Diego Seals 16-11 last night in San Diego, the Calgary Roughnecks (2-1) are back in action at home tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome where they will welcome the Philadelphia Wings (0-1).
And while less than 24 hours in between games doesn’t offer much time to rest and recoup, Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky said it’s simply part of the game.
“It’s the nature of the NLL. We’ll get back to the hotel, re-hydrate, get some food in them, and ice up. We’ll deal with the travel day tomorrow, but let me tell you, come 8 p.m. tomorrow night, we’ll be ready to play,” said Malawsky.
“We’ve been through it before, we’re professionals, we’ve traveled before on game-day, so there won’t be any excuses and we’ll be ready to play when the ball drops.”
The Roughnecks offense, which caught fire last night against the Seals, will go up against a Wings defense that allowed the most goals in the NLL last season.
Roughnecks forward Jesse King will look to pick up right where he left off last night in his nine-point effort against the Seals, and further add to the defensive woes of the Wings.
Heading into last night’s contest, Jesse had just six points (one goal, five assists) on the year, and he said last night’s impressive showing was a testament to the guys around him.
“The guys never doubted me. Offensively, they kept giving me confidence, kept giving me boosts, and I think last night showed how effective we can be,” said Jesse.
“We played fast, we played hard, and that’s our type of game.”
In addition to his own breakout game, Jesse’s brother, Marshal, continued his impressive start to his rookie season, adding another five assists to his season point total, which now stands at 11 points (three goals, eight assists).
Despite having just three NLL games under his belt, Marshal has shown no signs of nerves or tentativeness on the floor, and said he attributes a large part of his NLL success to being able to play alongside his brother.
“So far, my comfort levels have been developing more and more every time I’ve gotten the chance to step on the floor with our group, and I definitely think that will continue,” said Marshal.
“Playing with Jesse has been everything I could’ve possibly hoped for, and that’s in reference to my entire NLL experience, not just dealing with the nerves.”
After a strong performance in the season-opener against the Vancouver Warriors, the Roughnecks fell just short in an overtime defeat to the Colorado Mammoth last weekend.
Now, having taken care of business last night in San Diego, the Roughnecks have a golden opportunity to pick up some serious momentum in the second half of this back-to-back set.
Although it’s still early in the season, Marshal said winning two games in two nights would be a huge boost moving forward.
“Even this early in the season, we will take every opportunity to gain momentum,” said Marshal.
“Especially in a scenario like this weekend where a strong showing on Friday can hopefully carry its way over to Saturday and we can come out of this weekend with two wins.”
Marshal isn’t the only Roughnecks rookie to turn heads this season as Haiden Dickson made his NLL debut last night in emphatic fashion, finding the back of the net four times.
It remains to be seen how much playing time the 19-year-old Dickson will receive going forward, but Malawsky said he fits in nicely to what the offense is trying to achieve.
“I thought the young guy played a great game. He scored that great goal early in the game, cut to the middle, right through the heart of the defense. He had some great looks and ended up with four goals,” said Malawsky.
“He’s a good athlete, and the kid is fearless in the middle of the floor. He gives us a nice element to the complement the rest of the guys we have up front.”