Calgary Tops Toronto in Matchup of NLL Division Leaders
by Bryce Forbes | NLL.com
CALGARY, Alberta -- The Calgary Roughnecks
(9-3) dominated the visiting Toronto Rock (9-3) in all facets of
the game Saturday night, taking an important 14-9 decision at the
Saddledome and securing first place in the NLL for the time
"I don't know if we are the number one team in the NLL, but we beat a very good lacrosse team tonight," said Roughnecks head coach Dave Pym.
"As a team that was probably our best game this year," added Riggers goalie Mike Poulin, who stopped 41 of 50 shots.
Rock head coach Troy Cordingley pointed to his team's intensity, or lack there of, as the determining factory.
"Come with the same intensity they do," said Cordingley, if the teams happened to face each other again in the Championship Cup. "We faced a team that was hungrier than us."
The man who replaced Cordingley on the Roughnecks bench last season pointed out his team's complete game.
"We maintained a nice emotional level. We didn't have those
peaks and valleys," said Pym.
However, Cordingley was quick to blow off the rust factor that occurs when his team hasn't played in three weeks, exclaiming "No excuses. We got outplayed."
"If we play like that, we won't just not beat them but we won't beat a lot of teams," said Rock captain Colin Doyle.
In tough with his counterpart being the future Hall of Famer Bob Watson, Roughnecks goalie Mike Poulin played his best game of the season.
"I know I've had some games lately where I've let some soft ones in," said Poulin. "But if felt good to be able to see the ball well and help my team on the back end."
Meanwhile he was quick to point out the shot blocking abilities of the five men in front of him. "I keep telling them that I'm the one wearing the equipment and they keep standing in front of me."
On the offensive side, the Roughnecks continued to find success from their hottest players, Jeff Shattler, Dane Dobbie and Curtis Dickson.
"The whole offensive set has developed strong chemistry over the last five games," said Pym. "They are getting much more familiar with each other and are understanding the principles we want them to play with."
While Shattler's streak of four straight games with at least eight points came to an end, he instead ended up with only seven points (3G,4A). His brother in destruction Dobbie had the opposite with four goals and three assists. While the probable rookie of the year Dickson notched another hat trick to end up with 26 goals so far on the season.
The Roughnecks started running early with three early breakaways on Watson, with Shattler finally opening the scoring on the third one. The Rock replied with two of their own to take their only lead of the game. The Riggers ended with three goals in the first quarter, including Shattler's second of the game where he picked up a loose ball off the face-off, outran three Rock defenders for the Riggers second short handed goal on the penalty.
"We've been struggling with our powerplay so we have a lot of work to do," said Cordingley.
Early on in the second, Dickson was nearly decapitated by Kyle Ross, resulting in a five minute powerplay. The Roughnecks first had to kill off a pair of penalties from the Carnegie brothers, but then Dobbie scored on a 5-on-3 and then the 5-on-4. Dickson's second of the game gave the Roughnecks a 7-5 lead in the third.
The Riggers extended the lead in the fourth to 10-7 and Dobbie put the final nail in the coffin 11 minutes into the fourth. Fisticuffs ensued late in the game between Mike Kilby and Patrick Merril followed shortly by Geoff Snider and Kyle Ross.
The Roughnecks ended up four for six on the powerplay and a pair of shorthanded goals. The Rock were only able to capitalize on two of seven short handed chances.
The returns of Snider and Nolan Heavenor earlier this month continue to pay huge dividends, combining for 19 of 27 faceoff draws.
The Roughnecks now move onto the Minnesota Swarm for a home and home series next weekend with the Rock heading back to the ACC against the Washington Stealth on April Fool's Day.