Playing in Toronto has been real pain in the ACC

IAN BUSBY

, Last Updated: 7:36 AM ET

Every time this road trip comes up for the Calgary Roughnecks, it's as if the team is stuck between the Rock and a hard place.

The Air Canada Centre hasn't been kind to National Lacrosse League visitors, especially the Roughnecks.

In six career trips to Toronto to face the Rock, the Riggers are a woeful 2-6.

But they can improve on that record and go 3-0 to start a season for the first time in history, tonight against the Rock (5 p.m.).

"It's a tough arena to win in, and if we don't come as focused as we possibly can, it will be a long night for us," said Roughnecks head coach Troy Cordingley.

"Toronto is improved, and we have to be ready to go."

Since the two teams swung a huge trade late last season, the clubs have gone in opposite directions.

The Riggers shipped Lewis Ratcliff to Toronto for Josh Sanderson, and since then the Rock has a 1-6 record and missed the playoffs last season.

The Riggers are 6-2 in the regular season since the deal, including opening this campaign with two wins last weekend, but that doesn't mean they are taking Ratcliff and the Rock lightly.

"On a back-to-back, to come out 2-0, it gives us all the confidence in the world," said Riggers transition threat Jeff Shattler.

"But our heads can't be too big. We want to be 3-0 after this weekend and not 2-1. We're capable of doing it."

In the two wins last weekend, the Roughnecks had 56 shots on goal against Rush goalie Steve Dietrich and 58 on San Jose Stealth tender Matt Roik.

Each goalie was hot, and it doesn't get easier against the Rock, who have five-time Champion's Cup winner Bob Watson between the pipes.

It doesn't help the Rock was embarrassed in its home opener last weekend, losing 8-6 to the defending champion Buffalo Bandits.

"We need to focus on the little things, winning faceoffs and getting offensive loose balls," said Riggers captain Tracey Kelusky.

"They will be hungry. Obviously, only scoring six goals in front of a packed house against Buffalo. We need to settle in and play a good game."


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