Calgary Roughnecks transition talent Zach Currier called a ‘superstar’

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When Zach Currier thinks of National Lacrosse League superstars, he doesn’t see his name on the list.

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But those around him?

His Calgary Roughnecks teammates do not hesitate to call him an elite player in the loop.

In fact, the word “superstar” to describe transition talent has come up a lot this NLL season, often unsolicited.

“You grow up seeing the John Grants and guys like that in our hometown, and they’re the superstars,” said Currier, a lacrosse-rich Peterborough, Ont., native. “I never really thought I would be in this category. »

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The truth is, the mere mention of it makes him blush.

He’s a humble guy despite all the superlatives thrown at him during a season in which Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky considers him the team’s most valuable player whose intelligence of the butt “is out of the ordinary”.

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He’s exactly the type of guy you need for a playoff series that begins Friday night, when the Riggers (10-8) host the Colorado Mammoth (10-8) in a quarterfinal playoff game at WestJet Field in Scotiabank Saddledome (7:30 a.m., TSN).

“Zach might be one of those guys that the everyday fan doesn’t realize how crazy what he does is,” said teammate Christian Del Bianco, who has an overview of the talents of Currier from his Roughnecks goaltending position. “The thing with him is the amount of minutes the guy is logging is just insane. You see him leaning on the bench sometimes and you think, “Is this guy okay? And sure enough, five seconds later he gets the tap on the shoulder and he’s back playing business as usual. He’s able to dig pretty deep and he’s obviously a guy you can follow. He elevates the team to a higher level.

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“I think anyone who’s watched a lot of lacrosse and anyone who plays in the league knows that what he does and how many minutes he plays – some of the air checks and loose ball stuff and other little things – it’s world class,” the Roughnecks goaltender continued. “Nobody else in the world can do what he does, and we’re obviously grateful that he does it for our team. I think people are starting to give him more credit.

It’s not easy for a transitional/defensive star to get that kind of attention.

He doesn’t make life-saving plays like Del Bianco.

And he doesn’t score six goals a night like captain Curtis Dickson.

Instead, it was the little things he did throughout his four-year NLL career that propelled him to superstardom.

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Like his loose ball tenacity.

In last Saturday’s 14-11 decision over the Mammoth to secure home-court advantage for the first round of these playoffs, Currier set a new league single-season record for most turnovers caused – 62 and over. – with three in the win.

“You cut a Zach Currier movie, and you see this guy putting in 150 percent effort every shift,” fellow Roughnecks transitional Mitch Wilde said. “There are games where he comes off and ends up throwing up because he put his effort so hard, and it’s so cool to see and it’s so inspiring. It just makes you want to play at this level. »

At all the vomiting, Currier just laughs.

“Maybe once a game – I don’t know if I’m drinking too much water or not enough,” Currier said. “But I get gassed from time to time, and it’s starting to become a thing, unfortunately.

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“The idea is to leave everything there. It’s part of the culture I grew up with and had in high school and college. Try not to have any regrets when coming off the ground.

Or get in the way when he has to lift.

“He does it all the time – it’s pretty standard,” Del Bianco said. “We don’t think about it anymore. The guys laugh a little and wonder if he’s okay. And it’s, ‘Yeah…he’s fine.’ It shows how hard he pushes himself there. It pushes the envelope to the absolute limit. It seems like every shift is a full sprint.

“It’s quite spectacular to watch. »

The goals he’s scored this year have been the same, especially given their timing.

More than a few of his 10s have been tide turners and/or game winners, which certainly helped him get recognized as one of the NLL’s top players.

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Most have come in transition, since his job is to defend and run the ball across the floor rather than getting out and shooting like the other seven in the team with a greater total of goals on the campaign.

“I definitely got lucky with the timing of some of my goals,” Currier said. “I’d like to say I plan it, but it happens to be the openings I get at crucial times and I try to take advantage of them as best I can.

“And it helps when our goalie is seventh or eighth on the team in points (with 17 assists) with the way he throws the ball on the ground. It’s hilarious. »

But Currier’s own rise? It’s no laughing matter.

He’s the real deal for the Roughnecks in a season where they lost superstar Dane Dobbie and needed another guy to shine beyond Dickson, Del Bianco and Jesse King.

“I’ve definitely focused on controlling my emotions a little better than in the past and not wasting energy focusing on things I can’t control,” the 27-year-old said. years. “And I think that played a big part.

“I feel like it’s something I’ve struggled with my entire career. »

No more …

Not now that he’s been dubbed an NLL superstar in his own right.

“I don’t know,” Currier added. “Hearing that is a bit surreal, that’s for sure. »

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