The Calgary Roughnecks (5-7) shocked its West Division-leading rival Colorado Mammoth (8-3) with a strong 13-9 win in front of 10,139 fans at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night. This was the second of three matches this season between the teams, with Colorado winning the first one, 13-8. The win gave Calgary back-to-back wins for the first time since the first month of the season.
Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky praised the consistency of his team in this game.
“I thought it was as close as you can get to a complete 60 minutes,” he said.
Leading the way for Calgary in points was Curtis Dickson (3g, 5a), Tyler Digby (1g, 5a) and Jeff Shattler (3g, 2a). Most of Colorado’s points came from Callum Crawford (3g, 3a), John Grant Jr. (1g, 3a) and Eli McLaughlin (1g, 1a) while Adam Jones was held without a goal, snapping his league-record 56-game streak with at least one goal.
Colorado came out hot with a goal by defenceman Jordan Gilles, his 6th of the year, to put the Mammoth up 1-0. During a Mike Carnegie penalty kill, Wesley Berg scored his first career shorthanded goal to tie the game 1-1. Greg Downing froze Calgary goalie Mike Poulin on a partial breakaway to give the visiting team a 2-1 lead with just over 4 minutes to go in the quarter. Less than a minute later Mammoth captain Dan Coates scored to put one past Poulin to give Colorado a 3-1 lead. Colorado leading scorer Callum Crawford fired one in the back of the net to give the Mammoth 3 straight goals and a 4-1 lead. Despite the good scoring early, Mammoth head coach says he wants more from his guys up front.
“With the chances we were getting, we weren’t capitalizing the way we usually do,” Gill said of his offence.
The Roughnecks would finally get some offence going as Curtis Manning potted one to cut the Mammoth lead in half, Colorado leading 4-2 after the first. Shots at 15 for Colorado, 10 for Calgary.
Some nice passing set up Curtis “Superman” Dickson for his first of the night, Mammoth leading 4-3. There was no more scoring until Rigger rookie Berg got his second of the game by Colorado goalie Alex Buque to tie the game at 4 goals apiece. Dickson fired one in just seconds into a power play to give the Riggers their first lead of the game, 5-4. Colorado responded with a power play goal of their own off the stick of alternate captain John Grant Jr. to retie the game at 5. With Colorado coming off a bye week, Gill was not pleased with the inconsistency of his team.
“We had times in the game where we were playing lights out,” Gill explained. “But there were times when we were flat.”
That’s how the game would look at the half; Calgary leading the shot totals 30-23.
Calgary continued their strong play with a goal from Dane Dobbie to regain the lead. After a Colorado no-goal challenge was upheld, the Mammoth netted a good goal to bring the game even at 6-6. The see-saw battle continued as the teams exchanged goals from Roughneck Tyler Digby and Colorado’s Eli McLaughlin as the game sat at 7-7. With just under 3 minutes left in the 3rd Karsen Leung sniped one top corner on a breakaway to give the home team the 8-7. Jeff Shattler and Tyler Burton got in on the fun as they scored just 16 seconds apart to give Calgary a 10-7 lead heading into the final quarter. Burton, who played a more offensive role in junior, says he likes scoring but understands his role on the team.
“I’m a defenceman first,” he said. “I feel like I fit into this defence very well. I’m just a piece of the puzzle.”
The quick offence is something Gill expects from any team in the NLL when given the chances.
“When you give a team a little bit of space, a little bit of room, a little bit of momentum, it can kick you in the butt,” Gill said.
Shots were 48 for Calgary, 36 for Colorado.
Superman opened the scoring in the 4th with his hat-trick goal followed by Shattler’s 2nd of the night to extend the Riggers lead to 12-7. Dickson said spoke of his teams consistency against the NLL’s best team, and his team’s ability to score on them.
“All around fantastic effort, the first real full 60 minutes we’ve given all season,” Dickson said. “Our offence is starting to put the ball in the net.”
A nice move and finish by Crawford gave him a hat-trick, Roughnecks still leading 12-8. Shattler completed his hat-trick following a beautiful passing play by the Roughnecks to regain a five-goal lead with three minutes to go in the game. Poulin said the team has been playing good and he’s enjoying it.
“I think my body language shows I’m having a blast out there,” Poulin said. “Winning’s fun.”
Chris Wardle was able to get one late but that would do it as the Roughnecks defeated the Mammoth, 13-9. Malawsky was impressed with his team’s ability to finally close out a victory.
“It could’ve been a close game at the end,” Malawsky said. “But we buckled down gave ourselves a good four-goal win.”
Three Stars of the Game:
1) Curtis Dickson
2) Wesley Berg
3) Mike Poulin
By Matt Fetinko for NLL.com. Photo by Candice Ward.