The Edmonton Rush pulled off an upset of epic proportions by beating the Calgary Roughnecks 19-11
The Edmonton Rush pulled off an upset of epic proportions by beating the Calgary Roughnecks 19-11 in front of 11,161 fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.
The Riggers finished the 2012 National Lacrosse League campaign with a 12-4 record and earned home-floor advantage throughout the playoffs while the Rush squeaked into the post-season with a 6-10 record.
Ryan Ward led the Rush attack with five goals and six assists to help Edmonton beat Calgary in the NLL’s West Division Semi-Final for the second time in three years. The Rush also ousted the Riggers from the first round of the playoffs in 2010 when Edmonton beat Calgary 11-7 at the ’Dome.
“Credit to them, they were the better team on the night,” said Calgary coach Dave Pym. “I still think we’re the better team. If we’re in a series, then we get a different result in the series. Unfortunately we didn’t do what we needed to do at the time.”
With the win, the Rush advanced to the NLL’s West Final next Saturday when they’ll hit the road to face the Minnesota Swarm, who upset the Colorado Mammoth 14-10 in the other West Division Semi-Final on Saturday.
“Give credit to Edmonton, they came out with a lot of jump and a lot of enthusiasm,” said Calgary captain Andrew McBride. “I don’t know if we were nervous or gripping the sticks a little bit too tight but we could never just get the ball or our feet under us.”
Scott Ranger notched four goals and an assist for the Roughnecks, who beat the Rush all four times the two teams faced off against each other in the 2012 regular season.
“They just worked harder than us,” Ranger said. “They got the bounces they needed and we didn’t get the bounces and we weren’t working hard enough. It’s unacceptable and our season’s over because of it.”
Dane Dobbie had a hat trick and four assists for the ’Necks, while Shawn Evans scored twice and set up four others. Jeff Shattler notched two goals and three assists, while Cory Conway had three helpers.
Corey Small also had a strong game for the Rush with five goals and three assists, while Tom Johnson had a hat trick for Edmonton. Zach Greer (2g, 3a), Aaron Wilson (1g, 5a), Shawn Williams (1g, 4a), John LaFontaine (1g, 1a) and Jim Quinlan (1g) also contributed to the Edmonton victory.
After missing the final two games of the regular season with a lower-body injury, Mike Poulin drew the start in net for Calgary, but was replaced by Frankie Scigliano late in the first quarter after allowing six goals on 19 shots. Scigliano didn’t fare much better as he allowed six goals on 13 shots before Poulin re-entered the game in the fourth quarter.
Poulin finished the game with 33 saves, while Edmonton goalie Aaron Bold stopped 39-of-50 shots he faced to record the win.
Ranger opened the scoring at 1:21 of the first quarter before the Rush reeled off four straight goals to take a 4-1 lead.
“We got the first goal of the game on the power play so we had a bit of a momentum thing there,” Pym said. “Once it happened, we had mistakes out on the floor that we just don’t have happen in our system. Some of our best players weren’t our best players at that particular time. It’s got to be a 60 minute effort from the start to finish.”
Ranger then notched his second of the contest to pull the Riggers within a pair before Williams and Johnson replied for Edmonton to give the Rush a 6-2 advantage after the opening quarter. After Edmonton’s sixth goal, Pym decided to replace Poulin in net with Scigliano.
Evans bounced a shot past Bold during a Calgary power play at 1:01 of the second quarter before Quinlan scored an unassisted marker for Edmonton two minutes later. Shattler then took a pass from Snider and squeaked a shot past Bold to cut the deficit to three goals.
Wilson and Johnson scored to put Edmonton up 9-4 before Shattler appeared to score his second of the contest, but the goal was disallowed after video review. Undeterred, Shattler persevered and fired a long shot past Bold.
Evans then took a stretch pass from Peter McFetridge and scored on a breakaway to cut Edmonton’s lead to 9-6 heading into the halftime intermission.
“We were in it at the half down three goals and it just seemed every time we needed a stop we couldn’t get one and they kept getting those ones they needed to,” McBride said. “That’s what lacrosse is all about. It’s a game of runs and stopping those runs and we couldn’t do that tonight.”
As he did in the first half, Ranger opened the scoring in the second half when he drove hard to the net and fired a shot past Bold while falling to the floor.
Small then converted a nice pass from Wilson for a quick-stick goal to put the Rush back up by three. After Ward and Johnson scored for Edmonton, Pym put Poulin back in between the pipes.
The move seemed to spark the Riggers, who fired three of the next four goals, including a pair by Dobbie, before LaFontaine scored late in the third quarter for the Rush to end the rally.
While they played well in the fourth quarter in all four regular season games against the Rush, the Riggers weren’t able to pull off a comeback in the playoffs against Edmonton, who outscored Calgary 5-1 in the final frame on Saturday.