NLL: Red-hot Roughnecks beat division rival Mammoth

Curtis Dickson scores on Dillon Ward. (Photo credit: Cliff McCaig)

Backed by another solid goaltending performance from Christian Del Bianco, the Calgary Roughnecks defeated the Colorado Mammoth 13-9 on Saturday night at Scotiabank Saddledome.

“It’s a little extra special at home and it’s awesome to get the job done,” said Del Bianco. “Overall we were all clicking. We’re a team that when we’re playing happy, playing confident, it shows. I think we’re just executing and the end result shows.”

Del Bianco stopped 51 of 60 shots, with many of those saves being of the highly athletic variety. He also showed off his ability to move the ball quickly in transition as he assisted on Mitch Wilde’s goal at 6:13 of the third quarter. Del Bianco scooped the ball and hit Wilde in stride with a half-court pass. Wilde then scored one of the prettiest goals you’ll see a defender score, as he faked Dillon Ward high right and then shoveled the ball between Ward’s legs.

Dane Dobbie pushes through the Colorado Mammoth defense. (Photo credit: Cliff McCaig)

The Mammoth offence was held to four goals in the first three quarters of Saturday night’s game. Despite mounting a charge in the fourth quarter, Colorado was unable to put together a sustained run. Each time they looked to grab momentum, the Calgary offence was able to answer.

“It was frustrating. I think they outworked us. They had a good game plan coming in and hats off to their goalie, he played fantastic. He made a lot of big saves,” said veteran Mammoth defender Joey Cupido. “We watched the film during the week – we thought we had a good game plan coming in. They executed and we made a lot of errors in our own end.”

Jacob Ruest scored three times for the Mammoth and also added an assist. Stephen Keogh continued his strong play as both he and Jeremy Noble chipped in with two goals and two assists.

Colorado recorded their second loss in a row, giving them a record of 5-3, just a game and a half ahead of Calgary in the Western Division. With the season series tied at one win apiece, this sets up a huge tiebreaker on March 10th in Colorado.

The Roughnecks, who have been a work in progress for much of the season, were able to put together their second straight complete game. The Calgary offence consistently generated good scoring opportunities on the talented Mammoth defence and Dillon Ward.

Calgary was led by the red-hot Dane Dobbie. Not only did he lead the Roughnecks in scoring with four goals and three assists, but Dobbie also notched his 700th career point with an assist on a Curtis Dickson goal in the fourth quarter.

Perhaps the one consistent part of Calgary’s season has been their outstanding transition game. Led by the dynamic duo of Tyson Bell and rookie standout Zach Currier, as well as veteran Mitch Wilde, the Roughnecks pressured the Mammoth defence all night long. In addition to Wilde’s highlight-reel goal, Currier added two of his own.

Calgary will host Vancouver next week in another key divisional game, while Colorado continues their road trip with a visit to New England to take on Shawn Evans and the Black Wolves.