CALGARY, AB -- Supporters of the Calgary Roughnecks will always remember March 2 as the night Kaleb Toth was recognized as the first recipient of the “Forever A Roughneck” distinction for a franchise player.
Those same fans will also likely choose to forget the game that followed the emotional pre-game ceremony on Kaleb Toth Night.
Shortly after a banner featuring Toth’s image was raised to the rafters at the Scotiabank Saddledome, the Roughnecks (5-5) suffered a disappointing 18-13 loss to the Edmonton Rush (5-5) in front of 11,385 fans.
“We’re making mistakes and they’re ending up in the back of our net at this point,” said Calgary coach Curt Malawsky. “We just have to curb those mistakes and take care of our own backyard and we’ll be fine. It’s a learning process. We’ll get this stinker out of the way now for the most part.”
Following the setback, Calgary captain Andrew McBride said he was disappointed that the Roughnecks didn’t pull off a win to make the night even more special for Toth.
“It was a really special night and I know he should be very proud of himself and his family should be very proud,” said McBride, who won a pair of Champion’s Cups alongside Toth with the Roughnecks in 2004 and 2009. “Whenever you have that many people in the stands cheering on an illustrious career, it’s a pretty special thing.
“I wish we could have put up a better result for him, but you could see in his speech he’s just a classy guy and he’s done a lot for this city and team. What a really remarkable honour and I’m really proud of him as a friend and as a lacrosse player.”
Malawsky, who also played on the 2009 Champion’s Cup winning team with Toth, referred to the ceremony to honour Toth as first class.
“I think that might have been the best part of the whole night,” Malawsky said. “I think that was the best part from our perspective. It was great to see Kaleb and his family and it was really emotional. We were doing everything we can to try and show to respect to him. It was just a tough night for all of us, but we were glad for Kaleb though.”
The setback ended Calgary’s 12-game winning streak in the regular season against Edmonton. Ryan Ward led the Rush with two goals and eight assists, while Zack Greek and Mark Matthews notched three goals and an assist each.
Daryl Veltman had a goal and seven assists for the Riggers, while Jeff Shattler notched a hat trick and three helpers. Joe Resetarits, Shawn Evans and Dane Dobbie had two goals and two assists each, while Curtis Dickson also scored twice. Greg Harnett notched his second goal of the season, Scott Ranger set up three goals, while Matthew Dinsdale had two assists.
Edmonton goalie Aaron Bold stopped 27-of-40 shots he faced to backstop the Rush to the victory, while Calgary goalies Mike Poulin and Scigliano combined to make 30 saves.
The Rush jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Small and Knight before Shattler and Evans replied for the Riggers.
The ’Necks attempted to pull ahead late in the first quarter by pulling Poulin from the net in favour of an extra attacker, but the move backfired when Kyle Rubisch intercepted an errant pass and launched the ball the length of the floor into the empty net to put Edmonton up 3-2.
The Rush then charged out of the gate in the second quarter and scored five of the next six goals to take an 8-3 lead prompting Malawsky to replace Poulin in net with Scigliano.
That seemed to spark the ’Necks as Evans, Shattler and Dobbie scored to pull Calgary within a pair of goals.
Davis scored during an Edmonton power play to give the Rush a 9-6 lead heading into the halftime intermission.
Edmonton outscored Calgary 7-2 in the third quarter to extend their lead to 16-8 before the Riggers rallied with five goals in the final frame, but it was too little, too late.
“We didn’t hang our heads on the bench,” McBride said. “I guess you could take that as a positive, but quite frankly it was a stinker in all aspects of the game.
“We just need to be better and think about what got you here as a lacrosse player. We can’t panic. It’s not a situation that a lot of guys have been used to, but we’ll come back next week and be ready to go.”
The Roughnecks will attempt to get back on the winning track next Friday night when they host the Minnesota Swarm at the Scotiabank Saddledome.