Roughnecks need to iron out kinks

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:24 PM ET

The sound of lacrosse ball ringing off pipe will be going off in Dave Pym’s ears this week.

No fewer than 10 times did the Calgary Roughnecks work themselves into good shooting position, only to fire the ball off the iron in Saturday’s 8-7 loss to the Colorado Mammoth at the Saddledome.

It’s enough to drive a coach crazy.

The 62 shots on goal were proof the Riggers probably deserved to beat their National Lacrosse League rivals from Denver, but it also showed the home offence was off.

If it seemed like the Riggers were working out the kinks in the offensive zone, it’s probably because the team is still going through a feeling-out process.

Since Dec. 19, the Riggers have had only two full practices — about three hours total — and most of that was spent working on making sure they are defensively sound.

Pym vows there will be a focus on the offensive system — specifically the powerplay, which went 1-of-6 against the Mammoth — before the Riggers hit the floor Saturday against the Washington Stealth at the Dome

(7:30 p.m.)

“I’m not going to make excuses,” Pym said. “We have to perform better.

“We are playing on one side of the floor. We’re playing on the perimeter, and we’re not sacrificing to get through the middle. The first two games, we were better at it. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out in this one.

“We generated a lot of quality shots, but we couldn’t put the ball in the net.”

The energy level just wasn’t there for the Riggers Saturday, and that was partly due to a flu bug ravaging the team. Several players, including defenders Bruce Codd and Geoff Snider and veteran forward Kaleb Toth, played through it, while Devan Wray sat out of what would have been his season debut.

Despite the energy drain, the Riggers still managed to play solid defensively, keeping the Mammoth from getting anything going with their set offence and holding them off the board for 37 minutes until Cliff Smith notched the winner with 2.5 seconds left.

“You could tell before the game,” Pym said. “It was an energy thing. We were still resilient, and our defence was phenomenal. We are playing the defence better than ever, even when we won the championship.”

With rookie forwards Mark Scherman, Brandon Ivey and Derek Hopcroft all getting scratched against the Mammoth, the Riggers used the versatile Jeff Shattler up front so they could have another left-hander.

Both Scherman and Ivey are lefties, and both could get activated to face the Stealth.

“There will be long chats this week about the offensive lineup, and we will decide if this is the week to send the message,” Pym said. “It could be depending on what my mood is when I watch the game.”

With a week between outings and practices, there is plenty of time for a coach to reflect. There will be long hours spent watching the tape, and Pym will agonize over every missed chance.

“Hopefully, this is just a bump in the road and there aren’t too many more of those,” Pym added.


Videos

Photos