It wasn't their prettiest win, but the Roughnecks held onto a 17-16 win over the Swarm Saturday night.
St. Paul, MN -- To use one word to describe the Calgary Roughnecks win over the Minnesota Swarm – gutsy.
It was far from pretty with discipline continuing to be an issue down the squad, but when push came to shove, the Roughnecks showed they had what it takes to win the close one, this time 17-16.
“We stepped up at key times tonight,” said Shawn Evans, who finished the night with 11 points. “We didn’t stop, we didn’t give up ...and got the win.”
After being shutout for the majority of the game, it was Curtis Dickson who became the hero late in the night. In a game saving performance, Dickson scored three shorthanded goals, all in the fourth quarter, including the game winner with about two-and-a-half minutes left.
“It’s great that Dickson was getting the ball, he’s a phenomenal goal scorer, but it’s the Mike Carniegies and Scotty Carnegies that are getting him the opportunities and that doesn’t go unnoticed on our team,” said head coach Curt Malawsky.
After playing the Toronto Rock on the Friday night, a 17-12 loss, the most of the team didn’t make it to Minnesota until mid-morning.
The jet lag didn’t effect them as well, as they came out on fire.
They held a 6-3 lead once 15 minutes were over, and expanded their lead to 8-3 early in the second stanza. Swarm starting goaltender Evan Kirk was given the hook, and replaced by Tyler Carlson. That seemed to slow down the bleeding as the Riggers had a 9-5 lead by halftime.
Evans, who ended the night by tying the franchise record with nine assists, attributed the fast start and offensive exposion to movement in the Swarm end.
“We moved the ball,” said Malawsky. “They have a very good, athletic defense and we were able to get the ball to certain places on the floor and attack them.”
Despite the deficit, the Swarm completed their comeback in the third quarter, lighting the lamp eight times compared to only four from the Roughnecks.
The Swarm scored from all parts of the game, using their youth and speed to their advantage. Ten different Swam runners scored.
After the team swapped goals early on in the final quarter, Calgary dug themselves a deep hole with Geoff Snider earning his second major penalty of the game – the first was for scrapping with Swarm captain Andrew Suitor – fighting for a loose ball and being called for an elbow. The second major earned him an early shower according to the rulebooks.
Mike Poulin regained his proper form and shut down the Swarm, allowing only Kiel Matisz to score, a marker that gave the Swarm their first and only lead of the game at 14-13. Dickson followed that up though, with a shorthanded marker of his own following a nice transition pass from Jon Harnett.
With the score tied at 15-15 later on, another Roughnecks penalty put them behind the eight-ball and opened up the game for Swarm.
Luckily, the Swarm's powerplay unit was not firing on all cylinders, and Dickson scored twice in similar breakaway fashion to give the Roughnecks a 17-15 lead. Ryan Benesch completed his hat trick with about two minutes left, but the Roughnecks were able to rag almost the rest of the time off the clock. The Swarm’s last play got broken up as the clock struck zero.
The win gives the Roughnecks their fifth win in six outings, and they now have a full game lead on the West Division over the Washington Stealth, who just happen to be the same team Calgary is matched up against next weekend and two more times over the rest of the season.
Besides strong nights from Ranger, Evans and Dickson, forward Dane Dobbie and Jeff Shattler earned five points. Nolan Heavenor added a goal, his first of the season.
Poulin finished the night with 27 saves on 43 shots, while Carlson and Kirk combined for 40 saves in the loss.
The Swarm drop to 2-4 in the West and are in the basement of the division.