After being blown out in their season-opener, the Calgary Roughnecks will look to get back on track Friday night when they welcome the Vancouver Stealth to the Scotiabank Saddledome.
The Roughnecks fell 17-6 at the hands of the Rochester Knighthawks this past Saturday, and will certainly be looking to clean up mistakes on both sides of the field.
“We did not play well, plain and simple,” said Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky. “There’s always got to be an element where you tip your hat to your opponent, but on the other side of the ball, I thought we went away from a lot of things we did well in pre-season.”
The last time the Roughnecks failed to record more than six goals in a game was all the way back in the 2008 season, in an 11-6 loss to the Colorado Mammoth.
Malawsky said the offensive production is going to come down to them doing the obvious things right, which simply means sharing the ball more and moving the feet more.
“We have to stick to what we believe in, and what’s made us successful over the years, and what made us successful in training camp,” he said.
Another reason Malawsky believes the offence wasn’t clicking last game was due to lack of chemistry. The Roughnecks haven’t had their full complement of players together due to injuries, contract talks, and players still getting used to Roughnecks-style play compared to their off-season clubs.
“Guys go to different teams in the summer and they play different styles, and we haven’t had the ability to have everyone back yet, and we need the reps,” he said. “It’s not an excuse, I’ll be clear on that, but it’s definitely a fact that you need time together to gel, and now with another week under our belt, we had a chance to build some chemistry.”
Their opponent, the Stealth, are in a similar situation heading into Friday night, as they too were dominated in their season-opener by a 15-8 margin.
Historically, the Roughnecks and Stealth have typically played close, hard fought contests, and Roughnecks forward Wesley Berg said they’re expecting no different this time around.
“They had a rough opener as well, so I’m sure they’re saying a lot of the same things we are,” said Berg. “It’s two teams that are looking to bounce back and get things started for the season, the right way.”
One area of strength for the Stealth continues to be the snipers up front in Corey Small and Rhys Duch, both of who finished in the top ten in NLL scoring last season.
“Their offence is pretty potent where they swing the ball quite a bit and shoot off the swings, and they’ve got some guys who can score in transition,” said Berg.
As is the case for any team, playing in front of the home crowd always gives you that extra boost, especially when it’s the home opener. But Berg said no matter where they’re playing, they need to be better than last week.
“It’s always nice to be back in Calgary at home, a place that we love playing,” said Berg. “But either way, this is a must-win game for us, and we’ve just got to forget about last weekend and turn it around.”