The last time they met, the Calgary Roughnecks spoiled the Rock’s season opener at the Air Canada Centre after Toronto lifted its 2011 championship banner to the rafters.
“We got out loose-balled badly, we got out shot badly, we got out hustled badly,” said a bitter Rock general manager and assistant coach Terry Sanderson ahead of Saturday’s game in Calgary.
“I’m pissed off at our effort that game,” he said. “We got beat by a better team, no doubt about it — and the guys remember.”
The Rock jumped ahead 5-0 in the first quarter only to fizzle out and allow the Roughnecks to claw back into the game for a 12-9 victory.
“We made the biggest mistake — we lost our focus and dropped our energy level,” said Sanderson. “You bring it for 60 minutes or you’re going home in the loss column.”
Sanderson said his team usually puts forth a better effort against the Roughnecks and that’s what Calgary can expect Saturday night.
“We got to be better with our transitions,” said Sanderson. “We thought we gave them too many chances there last time.”
Toronto’s coming off a game Friday night against the Rochester Knighthawks. It was Toronto’s first game in 10 years without sniper Blaine Manning who’s out six-to-eight weeks with a broken collarbone.
“It’s just a matter of time before we break out,” Sanderson said before the Rochester game. “We got some pretty good names at our offensive door other than Manning.”
The Rock holds a 5-5 record when in Calgary but has not won there since 2009. The teams split the 2011 season series 1-1, with the Rock winning 9-8 at the ACC and the Roughnecks winning 14-9 at the Saddledome.
Calgary head coach Dave Pym said his team is coming off a disappointing OT loss at its home opener against the Colorado Mammoth last week.
“Maybe some of it was the distraction and excitement of opening night,” said Pym. “But we got to do a better job preparing ourselves coming up against the former champs again.”
Pym said he’s been reviewing the tape from Calgary’s last victory over Toronto and is hoping to repeat the adjustments he made at halftime to come out and steal the game.
“I don’t want to give away all our adjustments because we’d just be helping Toronto prepare for us,” he said laughing. “We just want to repeat the work ethic and discipline we showed in that second half last time around.”
Pym said his players made too many mental mistakes in the OT loss against the Mammoth and it’s something he’s addressed leading up to Saturday’s matchup with the Rock.
As for taking advantage of a possibly tired Rock team, Pym said playing in back-to-back games is no excuse to come out flat and he fully expects a hard-fought game from the get-go.
“We actually play better in back-to-back games,” he said, guessing Toronto’s probably the same.
“We’re going to have to be at our best,” said Pym. “We have to be better than good because good isn’t good enough against the Rock.”
|The Roughnecks Dane Dobbie flies through scoring on the Rock's Matt Roik to put the score at 11-9 in the fourth period. (JACK BOLAND/QMI Agency) |