Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the Calgary Roughnecks appear to play some of their best lacrosse when in frantic circumstances.
The Roughnecks dominated the Buffalo Bandits from the opening face-off until the final buzzer by a 13-8 margin.
It was a must-win game for the Roughnecks to remain in the playoff race, and they didn’t disappoint the 10,855 fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome Saturday night.
“The boys are battling hard and know what’s at stake,” said Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky. “It’s not drawn up that way, but we are where we are and just have to make the best of the situation we’re in.”
Roughnecks goalie Frank Scigliano had one of his best performances of the season, turning aside 46 shots in the winning effort, which included completely shutting out the Bandits offence until they finally solved his puzzle at 9:19 of the second quarter.
“There were key moments of the game where he made big saves,” said Malawsky. “He’s seeing the ball well, and tracking and reacting.”
The Roughnecks offense didn’t waste any time getting on the scoresheet as they opened up a quick 2-0 lead just 3:15 into the first quarter.
They extended the lead to 4-0 early in the second quarter and continued to keep the Bandits a comfortable distance away on the score sheet.
The lead was as large as 13-5 midway through the fourth quarter, before the Bandits rattled off three quick goals to end the game.
The Roughnecks offense was led by the NLL’s leading goal-scorer Curtis Dickson, who notched a point on 10 of his club’s 13 goals.
Dickson finished the night with four goals and six assists, further extending his NLL goal-scoring lead, and also taking over overtaking Vancouver Stealth forward Corey Small for the NLL points lead.
Roughnecks forwards Jeff Shattler and Wesley Berg also continued their impressive seasons, each tallying five points apiece.
“When our offense is playing well we’re moving the ball, and moving our feet, and that’s when we’re at our best,” said Dickson “As a whole, our offense is playing great right now, and it’s something we have to keep going forward.”
On the opposite bench, the Bandits weren’t able to get much going on either side of the ball, especially offensively in the first half, and saw their losing streak extended to three games.
“It was a tough game from the start,” said Bandits leading score Dhane Smith. “They played very well, have to give them credit, but we didn’t play well at all and it’s unacceptable.”
Smith finished the contest with six points (1 goal, five assists.)
The Bandits will look to climb back into the playoff race next weekend when they visit the Toronto Rock
For the Roughnecks, they have temporarily jumped the Vancouver Stealth for the final playoff spot in the west division, setting up a monumental game next weekend in Vancouver.
The Roughnecks currently sit with a 7-9 record, but have played one more game than the Stealth (6-9).
The significant matchup will get underway at 7 p.m. PST at the Langley Events Centre.
Frank Scigliano (Calgary)
Curtis Dickson (Calgary)
Jeff Shattler (Calgary)