The Saskatchewan Rush and the Calgary Roughnecks kick off their 2o16 campaigns today at Scotiabank Saddledome which is a start of a new era for both teams.
After starting last season 0-6, but making it to the West finals and being eliminated by the eventual league champion Edmonton Rush, the Roughnecks underwent a drastic overhaul in the offseason.
Retiring in the offseason was team captain and defensive staple Andrew McBride. Also being released after spending a number of seasons with the club was Geoff Snider as well as losing Jeff Moleski—the team had a lot of decisions to make and new faces at training camp.
The Roughnecks drafted Wesley Berg out of the University of Denver fourth overall in this year’s draft as well as Riley O’Connor seventh, both of which had great training camps and exhibition games showing they can handle the big stage, so look for both to make impacts immediately on a freshly turned over team.
Mitch de Snoo made the opening roster but was traded recently for NLL veteran Brandon Goodwin from the Buffalo Bandits which will tighten up the back end and transition game for a Roughnecks team that was unstoppable at times with their transition game last year with the likes of Karson Leung and recently named team captain Mike Carnegie keeping teams on their heels with their quick turn around.
The Roughnecks also have a problem most teams would love: three great goalies that cracked the active roster. Back with the team and looking to carry off where last season did as the starting goalie is Frankie Scigliano and his most likely back up veteran goalie Mike Poulin, but somewhat of a surprise out of training camp was recently drafted goalie out of Coquitlam, British Columbia, Christian Del Bianco who will be third string for the year.
After winning the 2015 Champion’s Cup in an exciting final against the Toronto Rock the Edmonton Rush relocated to play in the city of Saskatoon, SK to become the Saskatchewan Rush. They are looking to take things where they left off in Edmonton, and much of the same roster is returning.
Dan Taylor out of Lehigh is the only drafted player to make the active roster for the Rush but that’s due to the majority of their championship winning team coming back including starting goalie and recently World and Mann Cup champion Aaron Bold as well as rookie of the year Ben Mcintosh as well as three-time defending Defensive Player of the Year Kyle Rubisch.
The opening faceoff today at Scotiabank Saddledome is slated for 7:00 p.m. MT time.