Roughnecks Evans set to face old friends in Rochester

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:07 PM ET

Shawn Evans is going back to Rochester with the plan to ground the Knighthawks, so he's not sure of the reception.

When fellow former K-hawk John Grant Jr. returned earlier this season as a member of the opposition, he was met with some hostility.

Evans certainly didn't have the impact Grant did in Rochester, but over six seasons he did give his heart and soul to the franchise.

It's just now Evans is putting his blood, sweat and tears into the Calgary Roughnecks.

As the visitors Saturday, the Riggers (11-3) can put a huge dent in the K-hawks' playoff chances if they keep a six-game win streak going.

"Hopefully, if they boo me I can get 11 points just like John did," Evans said.

"Hopefully, I go there and see some familiar faces. I might get a couple of boos and maybe a few cheers. It will be fun."

In Evan's first outing against his former team, he performed well, scoring three goals and adding six assists as the Riggers built a huge lead and held on for a 15-14 victory last Friday at the Saddledome.

After that outing, Evans actually stuck around Calgary instead of heading home to Peterborough, Ont., right away to help teammate Geoff Snider conduct a kids' lacrosse camp.

But before going to Rochester Friday, Evans went home to grab his wife Kayla and three-year-old daughter Paityn.

They made the trek by car to Rochester, where Evans hopes to reconnect with some old friends.

"It's important for my family to come with me and see Rochester again," Evans said.

"Calgary has only been there once in the last five years. It will be nice to take them because we never know when we will get there again."

Evans joined the Knighthawks when he was just 18. He and his older brother Scott were part of an offence that included Grant, Shawn Williams and, for a while, the legendary Gary Gait.

Now all those players are gone as the K-hawks turned over their roster.

Scott Evans and Williams are in Edmonton, Gait is retired, while Grant is ripping up the NLL playing for the Colorado Mammoth.

During Shawn Evans' first couple of seasons in the NLL, he would spend his summers still in Ontario junior, where now Riggers teammate Dan MacRae was facing him.

"I was thinking that was unfair but he probably wasn't," MacRae said. "I was the one who had to 'D' him up. It isn't fun when you get a ton of experience at 18 like that. You can bring it back to guys your own age. He went from men back to the boys.

"He played on Six Nations that first year of junior-A. That was probably the best team I'd ever played against. It was pretty tough covering him."

MacRae is getting a bit of a homecoming going back to Rochester, too.

The defender spent three-and-a-half years attending the Rochester Institute of Technology and playing for the Tigers.

He would expect a bigger cheering section Saturday but the Tigers have a road game.

However, there are a couple of carloads coming down from Oakville, Ont.

After the game, MacRae plans on spending a couple of days in Rochester before going back home for a few and then joining the Riggers in Edmonton for the season-finale.

With plans of moving to Victoria after the NLL season concludes, this is MacRae's final chance to visit home in a while.

Plus, MacRae's 11-year-old brother Luke will get to the ballboy for the Riggers Saturday.

"That's the funnest part for me," MacRae said. "Going to the east in general is great to see family. I've started to settle down in the west."

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter @SUNIanBusby


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