CALGARY, AB - The Calgary Roughnecks battled hard against their provincial rivals on Saturday night, but ultimately wound up on the wrong end of a 15-11 score.
Jeff Shattler scored four goals, including a natural hat trick in the third quarter, to pace Calgary’s attack against the league-leading Rush, which lost their first game of the season one night earlier 10-8 on the road to the Colorado Mammoth.
“We came back on them, but they’re a great team,” said Shattler, whose squad trailed 9-5 after two quarters before battling back to tie the game 11-11 in the fourth. “You’ve got to play this team every shift to the best of your ability and if you don’t they’ll capitalize on you.”
Dane Dobbie and Scott Ranger had two goals and two assists each for the Roughnecks (10-6) in front of a season-high crowd of 15,167 fans. It was the largest crowd at the Scotiabank Saddledome for a lacrosse game since March 8, 2008 when 18,737 fans watched the Riggers down the Portland LumberJax 15-12.
Calgary coach Curt Malawsky said that although his players made progress against the Rush, which beat the Riggers 15-8 and 15-7 earlier in the season, he still didn’t think they played a complete game.
“I think there was times where we did play well, but there was other times where we didn’t,” Malawsky said. “When you’re playing in tight games, your mistakes get magnified. Sometimes we threw the ball away and when it seems like we made those mistakes it ends up in the back of your net.”
Shawn Evans and Curtis Dickson scored once and added three assists each, while Dan MacRae had a goal and an assist. Goalie Mike Poulin finished with 30 saves in a losing cause.
Curtis Knight paced Edmonton’s attack with six goals and three assists, while Riley Loewen had a hat trick and a helper. Mark Matthews had two goals and two assists, while Robert Church, Chris Corbel and Zack Greer also scored. Former Roughneck Cory Conway finished with seven assists.
Edmonton goalie Aaron Bold stopped 30 of 41 shots he faced to record the win.
The Rush built up a 4-3 lead after one quarter on goals by Knight, Greer, Church and Matthews, while Ranger, Dobbie and MacRae replied for the Riggers.
Ranger then scored at 1:05 of the second quarter to pull the ’Necks into a 4-4 tie with the Rush before Edmonton reeled off four straight goals by Knight, Loewen, Matthews and Davis.
Evans ended the Rush’s scoring outburst at 12:20 of the second when he scored while being checked from behind by John Lintz, who was subsequently penalized for the infraction. On the ensuing power play for Calgary, Knight converted a feed from Corbeil for a short-handed goal to give the Rush a 9-5 lead heading into the halftime intermission.
“I think we were passengers in the first half,” Malawsky said. “We stood around the outside and they dictated the way the game should be played. I referenced that at halftime. The guys later, they just decided to get to the middle of the floor.”
Shattler counted three straight goals in a span of 3:29 early in the third quarter to pull the Riggers within a goal.
“Shattler started it off,” Malawsky said. “He’s a competitor and guys just follow off of that. Sometimes it just takes one guy to start up. Don’t wait for the guy next to you. Someone’s got to own that piece of the pie so to speak. He was the guy that knew that and everyone kind of followed off of that.”
After Loewen scored for the Rush, Shattler went back to work with a power-play marker for his fourth goal of the game at 11:22 of the third.
Not to be outdone, Knight notched his fourth of the contest 35 seconds later to give Edmonton an 11-9 lead heading into the final frame.
Dobbie scored on a breakaway at 6:39 of the fourth before Dickson added another for the ’Necks 63 seconds later to deadlock the score at 11-11.
Just 21 seconds after Calgary pulled even with Edmonton, Loewen completed his hat trick to regain a one-goal lead for the Rush.
“We were right there,” Malawsky said. “It was 11-11 and then Mitch Banister made a good play. He tossed it down the floor and their guy was able to get on top of it. That was a big goal. It made it 12-11 and then we just couldn’t get anything from there.”
Knight then sealed the victory for Edmonton with two more goals before Corbeil scored into an empty net.
Calgary will get a chance to avenge the setback next Saturday when they travel to Edmonton to conclude the regular season Battle of Alberta.
“We’ve gotten better each game against these guys,” Shattler said. “Hopefully the next one next week will be our best effort. We can definitely compete with these guys. It gives a little hunger in our mouth for next week. We’ve got to play well against these guys. If we don’t, the same outcome will happen.”