Return of the Roughnecks
The Calgary Roughnecks return to sunny southern California. Must be a nice change of weather; however, the Roughnecks don’t have much time to enjoy the beach. They’re on a business trip with questions looming. They visit a motivated 0-2 San Diego Seals who are gunning for revenge after Calgary shocked them 12-11 in the 2019 playoffs.
The teams look slightly different. Austin Staats is out. Dan Dawson is in Toronto. And Dane Dobbie is suspended. Even with different rosters, fans in San Diego remember last season’s abrupt ending. The Seals were one game back from Saskatchewan for the top seed in the west. How will each team respond to tough losses? Read my keys for both squads below.
San Diego Key 1: Better Home Showing?
San Diego’s home opener could have gone better. The Seals were forced back to sea after Toronto rolled to a 13-6 victory. Even worse, Dan Dawson (former Seal) tormented his former pups. What a mistake to let him go. Toronto led 8-2 at half and never looked back. San Diego went 8 for 23 on faceoffs and lost the loose ball battle 60 to 83. That’s an incredible disparity in loose balls. The team’s fundamentals must improve for San Diego to spring the upset.
San Diego Key 2: Defense Show Up?
In both losses, San Diego has allowed thirteen goals. With an offense that’s scored sixteen goals total, that must come down. The Seals have the talent. Captain Brodie Merrill (2 assists, 16 loose balls, 4 turnovers), Cameron Holding (1 assist, 15 loose balls, 4 turnovers), and Garrett McIntosh (11 loose balls, 2 turnovers) will show up. San Diego needs a fourth and fifth guy to step up. Keep your eyes on Garrett Epple, Mark Glicini, and Eli Gobrecht to have monster games. Two of the three need to show up for San Diego to win.
Calgary Key 1: Better Offense?
Calgary’s offensive output against Colorado was horrific. Granted, Colorado may have the league’s best defense, but still. Seven goals in an offensive friendly league is awful. I don’t care that Dane Dobbie is gone. The Roughnecks went 2 for 7 on the power play. Score on a couple more and they win. Scoring two goals in the second and third quarter didn’t help their cause. Against Colorado, Curtis Dickson (1 goal, 1 assist) and Marshal King (2 goals, 1 assist) stepped up in Dobbie’s absence. The Roughnecks need more from their impressive depth.
Calgary Key 2: Championship Teams Handle Adversity
One of the biggest strengths of Calgary’s championship squad was their handling of adversity. They may have been down, but were never out. The defending champs are getting their first taste of this. What is the mental state of this team? Do they come out sluggish or with something to prove? Calgary’s leaders such as Manning, Harnett, and Dickson must bring this squad together. They can’t allow Colorado to beat them twice. My take? I think Calgary comes out with something to prove. These guys are professionals. Regardless, until they show this, one has to wonder if a losing skid is imminent. I know Calgary’s friends in Saskatchewan are eager for this.
Do you agree with my keys to the game? Disagree? Who do you think wins? It’s do or die for San Diego. Whatever your thoughts, air them by connecting with me on Twitter or Instagram. You can comment directly onto this article by subscribing. By subscribing, you’ll be notified whenever I publish a new article. Any and all support is appreciated! Regardless, thank you for reading. Good luck to both San Diego and Calgary!