New England Black Wolves (6-8) vs. Calgary Roughnecks (6-8)
Mohegan Sun Arena
Sunday, April 8, 2:00 p.m. ET
Last Game: The Black Wolves dropped a 14-11 decision at Buffalo on March 31; Calgary defeated Vancouver 13-8 on March 31.
Players to Watch: New England – Through 14 games, Kevin Crowley leads New England in both goals (41) and points (57). Stephan Leblanc leads the Black Wolves in assists (36) and is second in goals (19) and points (55). Reilly O’Connor ranks second on the team in assists (29).
Calgary – In 14 games, Curtis Dickson leads the team with 62 points on 36 goals and 26 assists with 60 loose balls. Wesley Berg has 60 points on 29 goals and 31 assists with 56 loose balls. Dane Dobbie has 59 points on 26 goals and 33 assists with 59 loose balls. Zach Currier leads the team with 148 loose balls. Goalie Christian Del Bianco leads the NLL in save percentage (.803) and goals against average (10.30).
● This is the only meeting of the season between the teams. The Roughnecks are 3-0 all-time against New England.
● Calgary clinched the third playoff spot in the West Division, but is just 5-5 in its last 10 games.
● Calgary rookie Tyler Pace is tied for fourth among defensive scoring leaders with 19 points.
● Calgary is tied for the NLL lead with nine short-handed goals. Curtis Dickson has three of those goals, which is tied for the NLL lead.
● Dickson also leads the NLL in shots (232).
● Calgary is 2-4 against the East, and also 2-4 on the road.
● New England is 2-2 against the West, 3-4 at home.
● New England is second in NLL penalty kill percentage (52.3) and second in the NLL at home (52.5). Calgary is eighth in power play percentage (40 percent) on the road.
● Kevin Crowley has five straight hat tricks and a scoring streak of 33 games with at least one goal. His 41 goals are four short of his career-high 45, scored last year.
● Goalie Aaron Bold had a career-high 54 saves at Buffalo.
● Jay Thorimbert collected his 200th faceoff win of the season – the seventh time in his career he has reached that benchmark.
New England Black Wolves coach Glenn Clark
“We realize what we’re up against in terms of making the playoffs. It’s very tight in the East, but we’re on the outside looking in right now. We’re down to four games left in the season and we need to correct the tailspin we’re in. That’s the focus, Calgary is the focus right now. You can’t get too far ahead of what’s in front of you. We’ve made some small adjustments and are looking for answers to improve in all areas of our game, and that is the process we go through each week. It’s certainly been a disappointing little stretch the last four games and we need to correct that.”
What is the team’s morale like going into this weekend against Calgary?
“It’s been good. It is nervous energy at times, so part of what we have to do is re-focus and touch on all of those points. We are feeling it. There is pressure to perform and we haven’t been as good as we’ve needed to be. But you can’t have a position where you are scared, nervous, feeling sorry for yourself or worrying about the win-loss column because that doesn’t bring you any closer to winning. You have to be energized, you have to be positive and you have to be thinking about what your job is as opposed to worrying about what the result may be. There is a bit of that kind of talk and having guys isolate and focus on what their job is and what brings us closer to winning as opposed to worrying about losing.”
With your offensive struggles, how much pressure is on Aaron Bold to perform?
“It has sort of rotated around. We haven’t had any breakout games offensively and we’ve never scored ourselves out of trouble this year, so that has been an issue. When our defense and goaltending has been really good, we’re winning 9-8 or 10-9 games. We’ve grinded out games with defense and goaltending. And then when it’s not as sharp, we’ve struggled, we’ve chipped away, we’ve battled, but we haven’t been able to separate or execute in volume on offense. It’s a lot of pressure. It’s a lot of pressure on all of us because we’re constantly in these tight games and we’re not able to create separation. That has been our challenge all year and it continues to be our challenge. There’s pressure all around, but when the pressure is to be perfect it can wear on you.”
Next Game: The New England Black Wolves will be at Colorado on April 14th .