The Calgary Roughnecks hosted the Las Vegas Desert Dogs in their home opener of the 2023-24 season. The Roughnecks have had two weeks to stew on squandering late leads in dropping their first two games on the road. Meanwhile, Las Vegas has had their own sour taste, courtesy of a 12-goal loss at home to Saskatchewan two weeks ago. Both teams showed flashes of brilliance tonight, but it would be the Roughnecks coming away with a 17-11 victory, as nearly every player on the team tallied at least one point. The win is the first for new head coach Josh Sanderson, and improves Calgary’s record to 1-2, while the Desert Dogs fall to 1-3 on the year.

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Roughnecks lead after first half shootout

The action was end-to-end from the opening whistle. Vegas would get on the board first, courtesy of Casey Jackson (0:26). Jack Hannah (4:34) and Jackson again (11:51) struck for the Desert Dogs in the first quarter. However, Calgary countered with goals from Haiden Dickson (3:04), Josh Currier (6:10), Thomas Hoggarth (8:11), Tanner Cook (9:07), and Jesse King (13:17) to take a 5-3 lead after one quarter of play.

The Roughnecks would get another five goals in the second quarter. Tyler Pace (0:55), Shane Simpson (3:39), Hoggarth (10:34 power play), King (11:52), and Liam LeClair (14:02) would all find the back of the net. Las Vegas responded with goals from Jacob Ruest (1:18), Hannah (2:43 power play), Dylan Watson (9:23), and Rob Hellyer (10:57). Calgary led 10-7 going into halftime.

Roughnecks pull away in second half

King (2:50), Currier (7:14), Seth Van Schepen (9:23), and Dickson (10:21) extended Calgary’s lead to 14-7. Goaltender Landon Kells was replaced with Joel Watson following the Dickson goal. The Desert Dogs cut the lead back to four with goals from Connor Kirst (10:28), Hellyer (11:04), and John Wagner (13:21). Unfortunately for Las Vegas, Calgary responded with another three-goal run in the fourth quarter. Dickson (3:03), Dan Taylor (9:48), and Dickson again (10:44) made it 17-10. Jackson (11:26 power play) closed the scoring for the Desert Dogs.

Other Stats of Note

Las Vegas won the faceoff battle 17-15 despite not having Zach Cole in the lineup

King led all players with 9 points (3g, 6a)

Tor Reinholdt (LV): 13 Loose Balls (led all players)

Christian Del Bianco (CGY): 36 saves, 1 assist

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“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk

“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk was formally introduced to box lacrosse when he attended a New England Black Wolves game on a whim in 2016. Instantly hooked, he has since become an avid follower of the National Lacrosse League. Following the postponement of the 2019-2020 NLL season, he was offered the chance to share his wealth of statistical knowledge and unique insights with the lacrosse community at large. He cheerfully accepted, and currently serves as Edge of Philly’s correspondent for both the Albany FireWolves and New York Riptide.