NLL: Roughnecks and Stealth Battle For Top Spot In the West

The Calgary Roughnecks travel to Everett on Saturday to take on the Washington Stealth in a battle for first place.

After splitting a weekend series last weekend, the Roughnecks are still holding on to top spot in the West Division, with a 5-3 record. Washington is right behind them at 4-4 after suffering a 15-10 loss to the Edmonton Rush last weekend.

Washington was outplayed in most every aspect of the game against the Rush. They were outshot 61-35, were outdone on loose balls 75-52 and lost the forced turnover battle 20-8. They need badly to step up against Calgary.

The Roughnecks got into frequent penalty trouble last weekend but managed to best the Minnesota Swarm in spite of it. Curtis Dickson’s three short-handed goals—including the game winner late in the fourth quarter—saved the Riggers from dropping two straight.

They weren’t so lucky the previous night against the Toronto Rock. Toronto scored nine power-play goals including three during a seven-minute advantage after Geoff Snider drew an instigator minor, a fighting major and a game misconduct for trying to duke it out with an unwilling Scott Evans.

Snider went on the next night in Minnesota to get ejected again for picking up two major penalties; one for fighting and one for an elbow to the head. He has subsequently been assessed a one-game suspension for his antics but is appealing the decision and can play this weekend as a result.

The good news for lacrosse fans is that we will get to see Geoff Snider and his brother Bob battle it out in the faceoff circle. Geoff and Bob are easily the best faceoff men in the NLL, so seeing them go head-to-head is always a treat.

Both teams have good offensive weapons. Shawn Evans is currently leading the NLL in scoring with 54 points while Washington’s Rhys Duch is fourth with 41 points.

Both teams also need to tighten up on the defensive side. The Roughnecks gave up 16.5 goals per game last weekend while the Stealth gave up 15. Teams that can’t hold their opposition to 12 goals or fewer don’t tend to win a lot at this level so both Calgary and Washington will be seeking to put on a more disciplined defensive performance.