Written By Joel Griffith
Photo Credit Jack Dempsey
The Calgary Roughnecks will look to jump off the losing train Saturday as they host the Vancouver Stealth at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.
After reeling off three wins in a row, the Roughnecks have now dropped two straight games, including a loss to the Toronto Rock on Sunday, a game in which they only managed to score seven goals.
“Last game was one of our worst offensive performances I can recall in quite some time,” said head coach Curt Malawsky. “I know we’ll be better come Saturday.”
Malawsky and the Roughnecks will look to slow down a Stealth offence led by the NLL’s leading-scorer Corey Small (48 points) and third leading-scorer Rhys Duch (45 points).
“I don’t know if you can completely stop those two guys, but we’re going to try and limit their shots from certain areas of the floor, put some good ball pressure on them, and know where they are at all times,” said Malawsky.
With Saturday’s matchup being the third meeting of the season between the division rivals, Malawsky said he knows the importance of earning a victory.
“It’s going to be a very tough divisional game, with the winner getting a 2-1 series lead,” said Malawsky.
“The magnitude of the game is massive for both teams.”
Roughnecks G Frank Scigliano, who was pulled after allowing his tenth goal against the Rock, said he knows he needs to be better going forward, and receives a little extra motivation after being pulled.
“Whenever I leave the net, I didn’t do my job,” said Scigliano. “Whether it’s 10 goals, or whatever it is, it’s not good enough.”
Scigliano said the Stealth have a well-balanced offence, and they can’t focus only on their two snipers, Small and Duch.
“They’re all pretty dangerous,” said Scigliano. “From my aspect, you always have to be ready because there’s only one ball, and it can only be on one player’s stick at a time.”
Roughnecks F Tyler Digby said he expects swinging the ball will be a big focus heading into Saturday’s tilt with the Stealth.
“We didn’t swing the ball as much as we wanted to last game, which is how our offence went stagnant,” said Digby.
Digby said the Stealth are a tough team that pressure the ball well, but the Roughnecks need to focus on their play first.
“We need to worry more about what we can do,” said Digby. “As an offence, coming off our last performance, we’re going to need to be much better.”
The Stealth lead the league in shots with 492, while the Roughnecks sit seventh with 395.
The Stealth power play sits fifth in the league at 56.52 per cent, and will face a strong Roughnecks penalty-killing unit ranked third at 51.43 per cent. The sixth-ranked Roughnecks power play will look to take advantage of a Stealth penalty kill ranking last in the league, at only 28 per cent efficiency.
Both teams head into Saturday’s game looking to snap their respective losing skids, with the Stealth dropping their last five in a row, and the Roughnecks dropping their last two.
Saturday’s game will get underway at 7 p.m. MST.