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Roughing Major: ‘Necks Outmuscle Stealth, 15-13

The Calgary Roughnecks (2-2) kept its momentum going after a bye week with a 15-13 home win over the Vancouver Stealth (1-3) in front of 13,739 fans at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night. The Riggers walked away with its second ‘W’ in a row, taking the first game of four in the season series against the Stealth.

“The guys had to step up in the second half, that was the message in the room,” said Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky. “How important the game was, you know 1-3 or 2-2 , it’s massive, not to mention it being a divisional game.”

It was also the first home win for the Riggers so far this season.

“It felt great especially against Vancouver,” said Roughnecks defenseman Tyson Bell. “A conference win, a rivalry like that, the boys did a really good job I hope we just keep getting better and keep going.”

The top contributors in the game for the ‘Necks were Dane Dobbie (3+6), Curtis ‘Superman’ Dickson (4+2) and Jeff Shattler (3+3). Most of the points for the Stealth came off the sticks of Logan Schuss (4+4), Rhys Duch (3+4) and Garrett Billings (2+4).

Roughnecks defenseman Jon Harnett was the one to open the scoring for the team as he put one past Eric Penney on a breakaway less than five minutes into the game. Something coaching staff was pleased with, earlier in the week they said the defense needed to put a few goals on the board as well.

“We had some big transition goals, got a couple from Harnett and one from Tyson Bell,” Malawsky said. “It really helps when you know, pulling the rope, it really helps when everybody’s pulling in the same direction.”

Followed by Roughnecks forward Jeff Shattler’s first of the night. After a small scrap between Roughnecks rookie Tyson Bell and Stealth defenseman Ian Hawksbee, the Stealth found their spark as forward Logan Schuss sniped one past Frankie Scigliano. The Riggers did not wait long to answer back as Curtis ‘Superman’ Dickson found the back of the net less than a minute later, shortly after Superman would get his second of the night short-handed. Stealth forward Rhys Duch countered quickly with a power play goal. Roughnecks franchise all-time leading scorer Dane Dobbie kept his total growing with 3:23 left in the frame to give the Riggers a three-goal lead. Duch would get his second of the evening which would end the quarter with Calgary leading Vancouver, 5-3.

A short-handed goal 52 seconds into the second by Schuss cut the Riggers lead to 5-4. Dickson scored his hat-trick goal less than 30 seconds later while on the power play to restore the two-goal lead. Vancouver forward Garrett Billings took matters into his own hands as he scored two goals in under a minute to bring the game even at 6-6. The Stealth kept it rolling with a Schuss power play goal to complete his hat-trick and give his team the lead for the first time in the game as Vancouver would take the 7-6 lead into halftime.

“I thought we came back nicely in the second quarter,” said Stealth head coach Dan Perreault.

It was a physical start to the second half with a lot of hits but not a lot of shots. Dobbie got his second of the night on the power play to tie the game, followed by Superman’s fourth, a laser from the point 45 seconds later to give the Riggers an 8-7 lead. Shattler kept the home team going with his second goal to give the ‘Necks a two-goal lead. Corey Small found his way onto the score sheet with his eighth goal of the season, followed by Schuss’ fourth to bring the Stealth back even at 9-9. Coach Perreault was happy with Schuss’ efforts.

“He played well, he shot the ball extremely well,” Perreault said. “He had a really good game.”

 Dobbie continued his strong night with his 3rd of the game with 5:07 left in the quarter to boost the Roughnecks ahead 10-9. Bell scored his first career NLL goal for Calgary to extend the lead to 11-9. 

 “It felt great, hopefully more to come,” Bell said. “‘I just wanna be the best that I can.”

The lead didn’t last very long as Joel McCready found the back of the net twice in the last minute to set up an even fourth quarter with the score tied 11-11 after three.

“We put up nine in the second half and that was massive for our guys, and that made the difference in the game,” Malawsky said.

Riggers forward Wesley Berg continued his strong rookie campaign with his fourth of the season as Calgary pulled ahead 12-11 early in the final frame. Tyler Digby was sent in on a partial breakaway off the stretch pass from veteran captain Mike Carnegie and roofed his fifth of the year to bring the lead to 13-11 for the ‘Necks. Defenseman Greg Harnett found himself on a breakaway as well putting his second in the back of the net bringing the lead to 14-11. Booing rained down in the Saddledome after Garrett McIntosh received what fans thought to be a questionable five-minute elbowing call. While the fans were upset, the team managed to keep cool.

“It’s a big message for us this year, stay positive and stay the course, and we kind of learned some of those lessons last year,” Malawsky said. “If we get emotional, we get penalties. Sometimes there’s discretionary calls that the refs call, I thought there were a few that probably didn’t deserve five-minute penalties…we were still battling and competing shows a lot of growth for a young team.”

However, Vancouver took full advantage as Duch scored his hat-trick goal with the man advantage. Shattler got a hatty of his own with just over two minutes left during some 4-on-4 to restore Calgary’s two-goal lead late in the game. In the end, it was the Roughnecks edging out Vancouver 15-13 to an eruption of cheers from the home crowd. Final shots on goal were 50 for Vancouver, 48 for Calgary.

“A couple key penalties in the second half turned it around and gave Calgary a little bit of momentum,” Perreault said. “We were kind of fighting back all second half, they also fought back hard. We really can’t give up those power play opportunities.”

The Calgary Roughnecks will travel to Saskatoon to take on the Saskatchewan Rush next week, something the team is already preparing for.

“That’s a big tough team that’s really dirty in the back end,” Malawsky said. “And I don’t mean that like they try to kill guys, but they’re physical.”

The Stealth will host the Colorado Mammoth next weekend, and after two losses in a row, the coaching staff says it’s all about making adjustments.

“We just have to move forward,” Perreault said. “We need the same effort, the effort was good, we have to regroup and go over a few things clean up a few mistakes, but bring the same intensity next week.”

Three Stars of the Game as selected by the media:

1) Curtis Dickson
2) Logan Schuss
3) Dane Dobbie

Story by Laura Bates and Matt Fetinko for NLL.com. Photo by Candice Ward.