VANCOUVER -- The Calgary Roughnecks were in Seventh Heaven yesterday after shocking the Vancouver Ravens 14-11 at GM Place.
The Riggers scored seven unanswered goals in the fourth quarter after trailing the Ravens 13-7 coming into the frame to notch their second win in three days against their National Lacrosse League expansion cousins from last season.
Despite being outshot and outplayed on special teams for much of the game, Calgary cranked it up in the final 15 minutes, stunning the Ravens and the 8,223 fans in attendance.
Captain Tracey Kelusky led the late charge, scoring two goals including a showstopping over-the-shoulder laser that went top shelf as he was being knocked down in front of Vancouver goalie Dwight Maetche.
\"That was awesome,\" said Kelusky, playing in his second game since having surgery to repair a broken cheekbone. \"That was just heart and desire there. This team really turned it up when it was on the line.\"
After starting the season 2-0, the Roughnecks went 0-3 before beating Vancouver 13-12 Friday night.
For a team many had written off this season following a pair of ugly defeats to Columbus and Buffalo last weekend, the two huge victories against divisional-rival Vancouver has set the Roughnecks ship straight.
No one in the Roughnecks\' dressing room was shocked by the turnaround, however.
\"What we said before the game was that if we lose this one to them, we were upset,\" said Kelusky.
Calgary native Jason Wulder continued his stellar play of late, leading the Roughnecks in scoring with a hat trick and a helper.
The veteran forward said the win was proof anything can happen in the NLL.
\"It\'s never out of the question in this league,\" said Wulder. \"We have the guys to do it and we did it.
\"Other teams will have to take a second look at us now,\" added the forward, who\'s now only two goals short of 150 after playing his 95th game in the league. \"We\'re a team to be reckoned with. Nobody\'s going to take two points from us easily.\"
After trailing for most of the game, Jesse Phillips finally gave the Roughnecks the lead with 4:58 left in the final frame after he took the ball end-to-end and beat Maetche with a great over-the-shoulder shot.
Phillips had a handful of similar chances but was stoned every time by the Vancouver goalie. Still, he never second-guessed what he was going to do as he ran the floor.
\"Once I get by the restraining line, everyone knows I\'m not passing,\" smiled Phillips. \"But hey, that goal was just a small part of it. That was just a great game by the whole team. We\'re really coming together and this was a huge weekend for us.\"
Kaleb Toth scored 10 seconds after Phillips to ice the win.
Calgary head coach Chris Hall said the plan was simple and despite struggling early, gave his team a top grade.
\"A-plus,\" he smiled. \"We struggled at times in this game but got it done at the end.\"
While the Roughnecks\' dressing room was full of cheers and hugs, the Raven\'s nest was quiet.
\"That was more than painful,\" said Vancouver captain Darren Reisig, who was at a loss for what happened to his team. \"I don\'t know. We were hitting posts and they just got it done. Full credit to them. We just couldn\'t put the brakes on when they started rolling.\"
QUICK STICKS: The Sun three stars were Jason Wulder, Tracey Kelusky and goalie Curtis Palidwor, who made 46 saves in the game ... Next up for the Roughnecks is a home date with the Columbus Landsharks Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saddledome.
CALGARY ROUGHNECKS: 14
VANCOUVER RAVENS: 11