Time to rebuild?

DARREN FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:36 AM ET

Another early playoff exit is always grounds for evaluation.

Yet, Kurt Silcott has already made his assessments and, from his vantage point, everything looks fine.

Except for some small tinkering, the Calgary Roughnecks general manager believes his team is of championship calibre and the 13-9 loss to the Arizona Sting at the Saddledome Saturday is no reason for a fire-sale squad.

"I'm happy with the formula we've got," said Silcott. "The ball just didn't bounce our way (Saturday). I'm not going to trash the whole team because the ball didn't bounce our way one night."

It was actually on more than once occasion the ball didn't bounce favourable in the Roughnecks' direction.

In fact, things got so bleak at the mid-point of the season, Silcott was forced to relieve Chris Hall of his coaching duties, replacing him with Jeff Dowling.

Goaltending, defence and the talented offensive units all struggled at times throughout the year.

Still, Silcott maintains his young team is on the verge of greatness.

"I think we were inconsistent because it was the first time a lot of these guys were together," he said of the 9-7 Roughnecks.

"When things went well, we were great but when things didn't go well, it was because we didn't have enough familiarity with each other.

"I think if we keep this same group of guys together next year, they're going to know what to expect out of each other.

"We made a of lot changes in this team and we were still contending for a (Champion's) Cup and we're a very good lacrosse team."

That said, there's still a lot of question marks up and down the Riggers' lineup.

Starting in goal, both Andrew Leyshon and Ryan Avery failed to prove they're true No. 1 starters.

However, Silcott believes his netminding tandem is good enough to carry them to the Champions Cup.

"Our goaltenders are fine," he said. "If you look at our games, our goaltenders gave us a chance to win every night this year."

On defence, veteran Andy Ogilvie has already said he will be retiring, leaving a big gap to fill.

In addition, Silcott expects the league to bring in two expansion franchises next season, leaving the door open for two more departures.

"There's talk of expansion and we know if that does happen, we'll lose bodies. I'm banking that there's going to be one or two expansion teams and Ogilvie will retire, so that's three bodies there."

Silcott's last order of business will be to find a way to get Dowling back.

Dowling, who lives in Ancaster, Ont., travels a lot with work and isn't sure at this point if spending that much time away from home is something he's going to want to do next season.

Still, Silcott said Dowling's his choice and they'll find a way to try and make it work.

"Jeff's got a life out in Ancaster and he's got kids and they want him around and 16 weekends a year is a lot to be away but we're going to chat about that and see if we can get that figured out."

"The real world is out there and if we can't make it work I understand that but hopefully we can get Jeff back."


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