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Black Wolves vs. Roughnecks Game Preview

New England Black Wolves (6-6) at Calgary Roughnecks (4-8)
At Scotiabank Centre
Saturday, March 25th, 9:00 p.m.
Live on NLLTV.com
 
Last Game: New England won 12-11 at home against the Rochester Knighthawks on March 17th. Calgary lost on the road 17-8 to the Georgia Swarm on March 17th.
 
Players to Watch: New England – Shawn Evans (25 goals, 45 assists) leads the Black Wolves this season in assists and overall points (70) and is second on the team in goals scored. He had three goals and five assists in last week’s win over Rochester. Kevin Crowley (30 goals, 28 assists) leads the Black Wolves in goals this season, ranks second in overall points (58) and third in assists. He added two goals and one assist against the Knighthawks. Kevin Buchanan (16 goals, 30 assists) ranks fourth on New England in goals, second in assists and third in points (46). He had four goals and two assists in the contest.
 
Calgary – Curtis Dickson (36 goals, 32 assists) leads the Roughnecks this season in both goals and points (68) and is second in assists. He had three goals and two assists in last week’s loss to the Swarm. Wesley Berg (20 goals, 30 assists) ranks third on Calgary in goals, assists and points (50). He added two goals and three assists against Georgia. Tyson Bell (seven goals, six assists) leads the team in loose balls (71) and scored two goals while collecting eight loose balls in the game.
 
Noteworthy:
·         New England fell 9-8 at home in their only meeting with the Roughnecks last season on January 15th.
·         Sheldon Burns (two goals, one assist), Kevin Crowley (three assists) and Kevin Buchanan (two goals) led the Black Wolves in their loss to Calgary last season.
·         Jeff Shattler (three goals, two assists), Curtis Dickson (two goals, one assist) and Dane Dobbie (one goal, two assists) led the charge for the Roughnecks last season in their win over New England.
·         New England is 4-2 at home this season, and is now 6-3 in games where they scored in double-figures.
·         Kevin Buchanan’s four goals against Rochester tied his season high and was his fourth multi-goal game of the season.
·         Through 12 games, Kevin Crowley has scored a goal in every game for the Black Wolves and now has 10 multi-goal games on the season.
·         Reilly O’Connor tied his season high with two goals and had season highs in both assists (four) and points (six) against Rochester.
·         Shawn Evans picked up a season high nine loose balls last week and now needs 23 points to reach 1,000 career points.
·         Curtis Dickson (three goals) recorded his ninth hat trick of the season against Georgia last week and now needs five goals to reach 300 career goals.
·         Tyson Bell tied his season high with two goals against the Swarm. He ranks fourth in the league in defensive scoring with seven goals and six assists.
·         Frank Scigliano recorded a season high 53 saves while allowing a season high 17 goals last week to Georgia.
·         Shawn Evans is tied for third in the NLL in points (70), tied for sixth in goals scored (25) and third in assists (45).
·         Curtis Dickson leads the league in goals scored (36) and fifth in points (68).
·         Kevin Crowley is third in the NLL this season in goals (30) and eighth in points (58).
·         Dane Dobbie is third in the league in power play goals (10).
·         Through 12 games, Evan Kirk leads all NLL goalies in saves (479).
·         Jeff Shattler has recorded an assist in every game this season for the Roughnecks.
·         Dane Dobbie set the season record for goals scored in a game with seven against Georgia on March 4th.
 
 
 
New England Black Wolves coach Glenn Clark
Opening Statement
“It was obviously a good result for us. We probably let them into the game a little bit more than we would have like to, make it a little closer, especially when we got up 12-10 at the end. You give yourself insulation and we had scored enough and done enough to put ourselves in a position to win. It certainly was a lot closer down the stretch than we would have liked to – we would’ve liked to have had a bit more separation – but we got the result. Any team can win on any given night. We appreciate the win. It was a good battle, especially with losing three D guys down the stretch which put a little bit of stress on our back end. It was obviously a good result and we got ourselves back to where we wanted to be at .500. Calgary’s going to present a similar challenge. I think they’re a pretty deep and well-rounded team. You get tricked by these teams’ records at times, but Calgary is dangerous on offense. Their D is aggressive and strong and solid. They are a good team and it’s going to be quite a challenge going into their building.”
 
With a three-game win streak, you’re back to .500. Is the team feeling pretty good about themselves?
“They are, but they are in the right head space. We’re not celebrating anything. I think we were disappointed with where we were. We’re happy that we were able to dig ourselves out of the hole, but we certainly don’t feel like we’ve accomplished anything. I think it’s more of a sigh of relief that we were able to get ourselves back to the position we’re in. Guys are in the right spot. We’re not celebrating anything yet. We know there are miles to go and there is lots of work to be done, but you certainly feel a lot better at 6-6 than we did at 3-6.”
 
Is it kind of a test for the team in regards to playing a team they only face once this season whom they don’t get too many chances to look at?
“Well, there is a familiarity in a sense that guys still play with and against a lot of these guys throughout the summer, and with guys like Daryl Veltman that came from Calgary and Shawn Evans who played there for a long time. We have familiarity with their players, but you don’t have that real sense of the game-in game-out experience. Even with watching how they match up with all of the other teams in the East, you get sprinkles of it, but not a consistent amount of it. It’s a bit of a challenge, but we have video access and information about them. For us, preparation starts with ourselves first, making sure that we understand how we want to play, and then it gets tweaked for each opponent. It’s a little different than with teams in the East, but not a big deal.”
 
What has gone well for you guys on this little run of late, do things just seem to be falling into place for you right now?
“I think we’ve revisited some of our principles. I think we were a little flat-footed on D. We weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be. We sort of revisited that and wanted to get back to some of the things that we do that create energy and activity from our defensive end. I think the aggression and the pace of play that we wanted to play with in the back end, we certainly addressed that, which has made a difference. We’ve also had some good individual efforts with Kevin Buchanan in a couple of games, Evan Kirk, and guys just playing up to their potential. It’s been a bit of both. We’ve made some tweaks at the offensive and defensive ends, and I think guys have been playing better. I think the guys have just been finding a groove a little bit, and those things have all come together to help us have a little more success. Even in saying that, we’ve won a one-goal game and an overtime game. When we were 0-3, we lost those close games. It’s still always so close, but I think we certainly played better in this stretch that we did prior.”
 
As far as Calgary playing back-to-back games this weekend, is that going to be an advantage for you guys?
“No, I don’t think so. The easy answer is yes, but if you go back and look traditionally in the NLL – and I don’t have the exact statistic, I’d actually like to see it – the winning percentage on the second night of those back-to-backs against a rested team I bet would be above .500. It’s one of those weird stats where you would think the team is tired, they have been traveling, but historically in the NLL, the teams playing on the second night of a back-to-back against a rested team do very well. We’re going to be sure not to fall into that trap because it really doesn’t translate like you would think it does. They always seem to play well on the second night.”
 
Next Game: The New England Black Wolves return home on Sunday, April 2nd to host the Toronto Rock at 1:00 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena. For more details, visitwww.blackwolves.com.