Opening split ain't the pits

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:41 AM ET

The Calgary Roughnecks took a big gamble retooling their talented lineup in the off-season.

So far, they've broke even.

Following their first weekend of National Lacrosse League regular-season play, the Riggers are 1-1 but both players and coaches know the situation could be worse -- much worse.

That said, a bounce here or there could have given them the undefeated start they wanted.

Either way, the Roughnecks were happy just to get back playing.

"I'm pleased with the way the ball's moving and with the way the guys are moving their feet," said Roughnecks GM Kurt Silcott, the man responsible for the plethora of new faces this season.

"We're getting a lot of energy on the floor. I think it's just going to get better when we gel and get more familiar with each other."

Chemistry, or the lack thereof, appeared to be Calgary's biggest problem over the weekend, especially during a 17-16 OT loss to the San Jose Stealth Friday.

The whole game was rife with errors for the Riggers. Dropped balls, missed assignments and shaky goaltending was the story.

More important, though, as in years past, the Riggers couldn't finish -- blowing a five-goal lead after three quarters. It was a different story against the Edmonton Rush a night later, however.

Early penalty trouble put the Roughnecks in a hole but their tenacious, talented roster, which has a blend of youngsters and all-star veterans, rallied for the 13-12 victory.

"We said these young guys were going to bring energy and speed and we saw some of that this weekend," said Silcott.

"I like the way we're transitioning the ball. We've got to get a little bit better, a little bit crisper, but that'll come with playing together more."

The biggest question mark heading into the season was whether goalie Andrew Leyshon was ready to take the reins as the team's starter.

The Roughnecks players insisted he was up to the task and while it wasn't exactly the start he envisioned, Leyshon showed flashes of brilliance. That should give him confidence heading into next weekend's game against the defending champion Colorado Mammoth

"He's playing well when we need him to and making the saves we need him to make and giving us the chance to win," said Silcott.

"It's good that we got this win because I think he feels if he makes those big saves, we'll get those wins."

TV DEAL IN THE WORKS:

The Roughnecks and Shaw TV are hammering out the details in order to broadcast games on Ch. 10.

According to Calgary GM Kurt Silcott, which games they will show has not yet been decided but there is a tentative deal to show six -- four home, two on the road. An announcement of a schedule is expected shortly.

In the past, Calgary games have been shown nationally on Sportsnet or The Score but no deal was reached this season. Though a deal with Shaw seems like a step backwards, Silcott isn't worried.


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