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The Force Awakens: Roughnecks Light Up Stealth, 16-12

The Calgary Roughnecks (7-9) defeated the Vancouver Stealth (3-11) at Scotiabank Saddledome in front of an electric crowd of 12,856. The win snapped a two-game losing skid for the Riggers while Vancouver lost its sixth-straight contest.

The bulk of Calgary’s offence came off the sticks of Curtis Dickson (4g, 2a), Dane Dobbie (3g, 2a), and Wesley Berg (1g, 3a). The top scorers for Vancouver were Corey Small (2g, 6a), Rhys Duch (2g, 3a) and Logan Schuss (2g, 3a). Curtis “Superman” Dickson broke the Roughneck’s record for most goals scored in a season, surpassing teammate Dane Dobbie who got 51 in 2014. Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky praised his star forward.

“It’s a special season for Curtis,” said Malawsky. “He’s a special player.”

The game opened with a post-season type atmosphere as Vancouver was clinging to their playoff hopes. The first goal of the game didn’t get scored until after the 5 minute mark as Roughneck’s defenseman Jon Harnett potted his second goal of the season to put Calgary the lead. The Stealth responded a just a minute later as Corey Small evened things up. Thomas Hoggarth and Keegan Bal followed up as Vancouver grabbed a 3-1 lead heading into the 2nd quarter. Vancouver head coach Jamie Batley praised his defense early in the game.

“Our defense played great in the first period.” Batley said. “I was very happy with the 3-1 when we were going into the second.”

Calgary held a slight edge in the shot department, 13-12.

It didn’t take long for the Riggers to get going in the 2nd as Dane Dobbie sniped one by Stealth goalie Tyler Richards under a minute in the bring Calgary within one. The NLL’s reigning Rookie of the Month Wesley Berg got his 20th of the season on the power play to tie the game at 3-3. With assists on all three Vancouver goals, Logan Schuss looked like he put his team up with a goal of his own; the goal was reviewed and stood as the Stealth took the lead, 4-3. That seemed to spark the Roughnecks as they scored 4 in a row started with Dickson’s record breaking goal to tie the game. Dickson was proud of the record but said it had to take a back seat to the task at hand.

“It’s pretty cool, all the guys you see that’ve played for this team in the past years,” Dickson explained. “But we’re just worried about getting wins right now and getting in the playoffs.”

Dobbie netted his 24th goal in just his 11th game to put the Rigger ahead 5-4. Dickson got his second of the game followed by Tyler Digby as Calgary took a 7-4 lead, much to the delight of coach Malawsky.

“The players managed the game real well,” he said. 

Vancouver’s Joel McCready managed to get one back before Jeff Shattler capped off a 7 goal quarter for Calgary as they took an 8-5 lead into the half. Shots were 30-20 for Calgary.

Vancouver leading scorer Rhys Duch looked to get one back for the Stealth but the goal was reviewed and overturned. Digby and Curtis Manning scored for the Riggers as they took a commanding 10-5 lead. The lead was extended to 12-5 as Dickson scored his 3rd and 4th goals of the game. Batley said there’s no excuse for the minimal compete level from his team.

“In the 2nd and 3rd (quarters) we made some really easy plays for them,” Batley said. “Our compete level wasn’t on some loose balls and face-offs and they took advantage of it. We have to clean that up.”

Jordan Durston finally responded for the Stealth after 5 straight Calgary goals. Scott Carnegie stopped the chance of any momentum swing as he fired one in just 7 seconds later. Malawsky loved to see the offence from his veteran defender but also praised his all-around game.

“That might’ve been one of his best games he’s ever played,” Malawsky said. “It wasn’t just because he scored in transition but he played phenomenal defense.”

Garrett McIntosh got in on the fun with his 3rd of the year to put Calgary ahead 14-6. McCready was able to score his 2nd of the game before the end of the frame, but Calgary would take an impressive 14-7 lead into the final quarter. The Riggers head coach was ecstatic over the way his team handled Vancouver’s late-quarter push.

“I liked the pushback, they’d get a goal and we’d come right back and get one,” Malawsky explained. “It’s tough for a team in this league to gain momentum when you get up by five and you’re trading goals”

Shots were 45-28 in favor of Calgary.

Duch was finally able to net one by Calgary goalie Mike Poulin to open up the final quarter. Small notched his second of the game on the power play to cut Calgary’s lead to 14-9. Dobbie was able to get one back under a minute later to restore the six goal lead. The Stealth reached double digits with Duch’s second of the game but Vancouver still trailed 15-10. Calgary defenseman Greg Harnett answered back with a slick move as he put the Riggers up 16-10. The Stealth refused to back down as Schuss got his second of the game to bring his team back within five.

The offence is something Batley is hoping can become a more consistent part of the Stealth’s game.

“Our offence got looks and we were moving our feet but we didn’t do that in the second and third,” he said.

Bal followed suit as he scored his second of the game as well to cut the Roughneck’s lead to 16-12 with 6 minutes remaining. Despite a tough game offensively, Vancouver’s coach was pleased with his team finish to the game.

“I thought our offence got a little more movement and started getting guys open,” Batley said. “But we have to play 60 minutes. We haven’t done that this last month.”

That’s as close as Vancouver would get as Calgary would shut the door for the rest of the game to secure the 16-12 victory, much to the delight of Dickson.

“Our Achilles heel has been playing a full 60 minutes,” Dickson said. “I thought tonight was the closest thing to a full 60 minutes in awhile.” 

Batley is expecting a different result in next week’s rematch in Vancouver.

“Our guys already have a bad taste in their mouth from losing tonight,” Batley admitted. “So hopefully they work hard all week and come next week ready to play and ready to give a 60-minute game.”

Three Stars of the Game:

1) Curtis Dickson
2) Dane Dobbie
3) Scott Carnegie

By Matt Fetinko for NLL.com. Photo by Candice Ward.