The Reflector’s guide to the Roughnecks
Tune up on Canada’s national game
The Calgary Roughnecks are just beginning the 2012 National Lacrosse League season and have already faced the ups and the downs of a wild start.
So far: The ups have included the Roughnecks starting off with two important victories. The first was a win over the defending NLL champion Toronto Rock. In the game, the Roughnecks came back from an early 6-1 deficit to win by a final score of 12-9.
The other big win was over the Washington Stealth, a team that ended their season last year.
The downs have unfortunately been downright downy. After starting 2-0, the ‘Necks lost to western division rivals the Colorado Mammoth in overtime.
Calgary was up 11-7, but lost the game 13-12, after the Mammoths scored 45 seconds into the overtime frame.
Players to watch: Transition player Jeff Shattler and forward Dane Dobbie are Calgary’s two main scoring threats through the early part of the season.
Shattler was named last year’s MVP after a season in which he totaled 75 points. The five-foot-eight Dobbie is usually the smallest player on the field, but makes up for it by having a motor that doesn’t quit. He also posted 75 points last season.
Strengths: Last year’s most potent offense features last season’s most valuable player and rookie of the year in Curtis Dickson. Calgary also has the league’s most dominant faceoff man in Geoff Snider, one of the top goaltenders in Mike Poulin new addition Shawn Evans, a top-20 forward who came over during the offseason from the Rochester Nighthawks. All around, a very balanced attack.
Changes: One big change of the new season is that Derrick the Driller, the team’s mascot, has been replaced by an unnamed honey badger that rides on an ATV. While fans have only seen one instance of the new mascot, it seems to be a mainstay and will receive a name via fan voting in the upcoming weeks.
Prediction: The Roughnecks have been touted by lacrosse writers as a serious contender for the league’s Champion’s Cup.
Tickets: The Roughnecks provide value entertainment for any sports fan and also have cheaper tickets than their big brother, the Calgary Flames.
Safeway locations across the city are offering vouchers for $20 apiece that are to be brought to the Scotiabank Saddledome to be exchanged for tickets.