New England Black Wolves vs. Calgary Roughnecks Game Preview

Calgary Roughnecks (0-2) vs New England Black Wolves (1-0)
At Mohegan Sun Arena
Friday, January 15th, 7 p.m.

Last Game: New England opened the season with a 17-7 win at Vancouver on January 9th; Calgary dropped a 10-9 decision to Buffalo on Jan. 9th and has lost its first two games by a total of three goals.

Players to watch:
New England – Acquired in a significant offseason trade from Calgary, 2015 NLL MVP Shawn Evans had a major impact in his first game with the Black Wolves, collecting four goals and two assists. Pat Saunders had a career high nine points (four goals, five assists); Kevin Crowley had five assists, and added one goal; Kevin Buchanan had four assists and a goal; Kyle Buchanan had three goals and an assist; Evan Kirk had 49 saves.

Calgary – Dane Dobbie had two goals, five assists and seven points last Saturday. He leads the team with five goals and six assists (11 points). Tyler Digby had three goals and an assist last week. Jeff Shattler is second on the team with two goals, five assists and seven points.

Noteworthy:

  • This is the Black Wolves’ home opener
  • This is the first time reigning MVP Shawn Evans has faced his former team since the trade
  • The Black Wolves were 0-1 against Calgary last year, losing 20-9 on March 20th at the Scotiabank Saddledome
  • Evans had five goals and six assists for Calgary against the Black Wolves in that game on March 20th
  • Calgary’s Tyler Digby was part of the three-team trade that allowed the Black Wolves to acquire Evans
  • This is a double-header weekend for New England. The Black Wolves travel to Georgia on Saturday to face the Swarm on Sunday at 2:05 p.m.

New England Black Wolves coach Glenn Clark
On last week’s 17-7 victory at Vancouver:
“I don’t think we could have had a better start from our perspective. The win was nice and the score was nice. The nicest part was how we won. It wasn’t loose. It wasn’t scrambley. It was systematic in how we wanted to play and that was probably the most encouraging part of the game. My challenge to the team (this week) was that anyone can have a one-off. If you want to be considered a good team, you need to repeat that. That’s the challenge that we’re going to have this weekend.”

On his feelings anticipating his first home game at Mohegan Sun Arena:
“I’m looking forward to seeing what the building is like when the crowd is in there. The hum of the crowd. We were hired in June, so it feels like a long buildup to this game.”

Does he feel better about the defense, which was a concern entering the season, after the win at Vancouver?
“It’s a small sample size, but it is certainly a good start. For me to start feeling really comfortable about it, I need to see that on a regular basis. It was a good start and it’s something we can build on. The key is to make it a repeatable action. At this point, I was happy with how we executed. Next (week), I will have a better answer for you.”

How much has the addition of Shawn Evans impacted the offense, particularly Pat Saunders?
“Shawn and Pat are very gifted goal scorers, but everyone plays a part in the spacing and movement and all the things we try to do on offense. From a defensive perspective, you worry about skilled and talented offensive players. And when you add another one (like Evans) to the mix, it just makes it that much more difficult to key on one player. The floor gets stretched and it will open up lanes for other guys.”

Next Game: The Black Wolves will travel to Georgia to take on the Swarm Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. That game can be seen live on NESNplus. For more information on the Black Wolves, visit blackwolves.com.