Time to challenge the King

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:01 PM ET

Turns out, the Calgary Roughnecks starting rubber-stop is a savvy spectator, too.

While serving as the second-string netminder for a tilt against the Boston Blazers last season at the Saddledome, Matt King noticed the guy in the opposing goal was worth keeping an eye on.

"He was excellent," King recalled. "That was actually the first time I'd seen him play. He was playing with Anthony Cosmo at the time, and I actually thought it was (Cosmo) the first time I saw him out on the floor, which is a compliment."

That guy is Mike Poulin, and King will be seeing him much more often now.

The Roughnecks acquired Poulin from the Blazers earlier this week, sending their first-round selection in the upcoming draft to Beantown in exchange for the 24-year-old backstop.

Poulin will be on the roster for Friday's clash with the Edmonton Rush at the Saddledome, but he'll be the one watching the action from the bench this time.

Although King allowed four goals on eight shots before being yanked in last week's loss to Rush -- "If I pulled my weight, we would've won that game," he admitted -- the Riggers are sticking with their starting goaltender for Friday's rematch.

"Matt is struggling with confidence, but I gave him some good things to reflect on in terms of mental preparation. That's all it is," said Roughnecks coach Dave Pym.

"It doesn't have anything to do with technique or physical ability. I think he has it nailed. With the acquisition of Mike, it's going to help spur Matt on to have his best performance."

King is coming off the best campaign of his career and his first Champion's Cup crown as a starter, but hasn't been as reliable so far this season.

Through four outings, the 29-year-old has an inflated 12.32 goals-against average and a league-worst save percentage of 70.7%.

Although King welcomes the addition of another solid backstop and quality teammate, the nine-year National Lacrosse League veteran is more worried about getting his own game back on track.

A solid outing against the Riggers' provincial rivals would be a great place to start.

"I know that bad games happen. Unfortunately, I've strung a few bad ones in a row," King said. "It's mental. It's just not getting discouraged when things aren't going overly well, like they are right now. It's easy when things are going well to keep it going, but when things are going poorly, you just have to be as positive as you can, just hope things turn around.

"It's not like I've been approaching the game differently, things just haven't been going my way and I haven't looked very good. Hopefully, this is the weekend I turn things around."

WES.GILBERTSON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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