In their first home game in a month, 15,070 loud Calgary fans came out to a St. Patrick’s Day party and watched the Roughnecks defeat the Rochester Knighthawks 14-13.
The Roughnecks (5-7) used a six goal, eight-point performance from Wesley Berg to power past the Knighthawks and bring an end to a mini two-game losing skid.
“I had a couple lucky bounces today and guys were looking for me,” Berg said. “Offensively we just did a great job. Everybody had good looks. We moved the ball and played well as a team tonight. That’s been the biggest difference from winning and losing lately is the way that we play as an offensive unit. When we play together we get the result we want.”
The Knighthawks (6-7) got off to a slow start, but battled back and came within a goal of tying the game before time ran out. The loss brings an end to a four-game winning streak. Kyle Jackson (3G, 4A) and Austin Shanks (4G, 2A) led the Rochester attack, while veteran Cody Jamieson finished the game with six assists.
“They played very well. They were prepared for us and they had a game plan and stuck to it all game,” Jamieson said. “On our end, I just felt like we started off slow. Dug ourselves too big a hole and we couldn’t dig ourselves out of it.”
After an embarrassing 17-6 loss in week two of the season against the Knighthawks, the Roughnecks seemed determined to come out strong. Fifty-two seconds into the game, the transition game struck with a familiar recipe. Christian Del Bianco delivered a 130 foot pass to Zach Currier who then dished the ball to Mitch Wilde who beat Matt Vinc short side.
“That was definitely one of the keys to our game was making sure we had a lot of transition this game. Making sure we were pushing them, trying to tire them out a little bit and at the same time use our athleticism,” said Garret McIntosh, who also chipped in with two first-half goals.
Calgary’s offence carried the play in the first half eventually chasing Vinc in favor of Angus Goodleaf. At halftime, Calgary held a 10-5 lead much to the delight of hometown crowd dressed mostly in green. After an even third quarter with each team scoring twice, it was Rochester that dominated the final frame, scoring six times.
Jake Withers had a good night in the face-off circle winning 20 of 30 draws while also scooping 10 loose balls. Graeme Hossack chipped in with eight loose balls and three caused turnovers. Vinc and Goodleaf combined to stop 34 of 48 shots.
For Calgary, Zach Currier scooped up a game-high 15 loose balls to extend his league lead to 124. Del Bianco stopped 42 of 55 shots for a .764 save percentage.
Game note: Fans can visit Elevate Auctions to bid on the limited-edition St. Patrick’s Day jerseys worn by the Calgary Roughnecks. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.