Saints come crawling in

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

On paper, it looks like the perfect medicine for an ailing Calgary Roughnecks squad.

After being beaten up 15-6 by the defending National Lacrosse League champion Toronto Rock Friday night, the Riggers return to the \'Dome today to take on the cellar-dwelling New York Saints.

The Saints own the league\'s worst record at 1-8 but are coming off a tight 18-16 loss to the Vancouver Ravens Friday night.

\"Scoring only six goals for us was brutal,\" said Roughnecks forward Jason Wulder. \"The biggest thing is everybody just wants to get back on the floor. Nobody was happy with the way we played, so we just want to get back out there. It doesn\'t matter who we\'re playing. We just want to get back out there and redeem ourselves.\"

The Saints have shown lately they\'re a better team than their record indicates.

After a slow start to the season, New York pulled the trigger on two huge deals in late January. First they sent holdout and former Roughneck Ben Prepchuk to Colorado for four players and three draft picks and then shipped Rusty Kruger and Tim O\'Brien for four players in a three-way deal with Albany and New Jersey.

Couple that with the late signing of forward Kris Bryde and the Saints are, essentially, a totally different team.

Since the deals, the Saints are 1-3 but have shown flashes of brilliance. They hammered the Colorado Mammoth 20-12 Feb. 6 for their lone win of the year and led 3-0 in Vancouver Friday before losing a hard-fought battle.

But given their record, the Saints are still considered easy pickings.

\"I don\'t see why you wouldn\'t take us lightly,\" said former Roughneck Chris Panos, who led New York with four goals and four assists in Friday\'s loss. \"I mean, we are 1-8. We haven\'t played 60 minutes of lacrosse all year except for that game against Colorado and we beat them pretty handily. For the rest of the season, for the games I\'ve been a part of, there\'s moments we look very, very good and moments we look very, very inexperienced. I think the mistakes catch up to us because good teams capitalize on mistakes. And we make a lot.\"

The Saints are last in the league in goals against per game, averaging 15.69.

While the team has good goaltending and offence, the defence, full of American field players still getting used to the indoor game, is easily their achilles heel.

\"That\'s obviously something we need to improve on,\" said Panos. \"Every game, the guys are getting better but it\'s such a short season there\'s not much time to get better as you go or you\'ll pay for it.\"

QUICK STICKS: Tracey Kelusky and Kaleb Toth were yesterday named to to the Canadian team that will take part in the inaugural world indoor lacrosse championships May 15-24. The tournament will be held in four Ontario cities -- Oshawa, Mississauga, Kitchener and Hamilton -- and feature teams from the U.S., Iroquios Nationals, Australia, Czech Republic and Scotland.

GAME DAY

NEW YORK SAINTS VS. CALGARY ROUGHNECKS (1:30 P.M., \'DOME, SPORTSNET)

COMING IN: Calgary, second in the Northern Division at 6-4, is coming off a 15-6 lambasting at the hands of the Toronto Rock Friday night at the Air Canada Centre. New York, owners of the league\'s worst record at 1-8 in the Eastern Division, lost a close one, 18-16, to the Vancouver Ravens Friday on the coast.

WHO\'S HOT AND WHO\'S NOT:

CALGARY -- The Riggers offence is coming off its worst game in franchise history. F Tracey Kelusky and F Lewis Ratcliff each had three points (2g, 1a) in the loss to Toronto.

NEW YORK -- F Chris Driscoll scored three goals and six assists in the 18-16 loss to Vancouver. Driscoll came into the weekend sixth in league scoring, averaging 6.12 points a game. Former Roughneck Chris Panos had eight points Friday (4g, 4a). Goalie Gee Nash was solid making 55 saves in the loss.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: This is the first meeting of the season between the two clubs. They will meet again March 23 on Long Island. The Riggers are 0-1 lifetime against the Saints.


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