Rebel happy it didn\'t deal the Dish

TODD SAELHOF -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

Matt Disher refused to let the trade rumours destroy his focus.

Good thing, because it could have turned into a rough -- or even a Roughneck -- season for the Ottawa Rebel goaltender.

Instead, Disher is sitting pretty as the key man in the Rebel\'s fortunes this season. He\'s the talk of visiting media, coaching staff and backstops after compiling the best save percentage in the NLL heading into tonight\'s pivotal home tilt against the Vancouver Ravens.

It follows talk that the B.C. native was offered in a trade to bring 50-goal scorer Tracey Kelusky to Ottawa.

\"It was pretty close during a time when we felt we had no untouchables,\" Rebel GM Lindsay Sanderson said of the pre-season talks that had Disher -- tonight\'s starting goaltender -- being shipped to the Calgary Roughnecks in a multi-player deal for Kelusky. But along with Disher, the \'Necks also wanted a handful of the Rebel\'s front-line players, nixing the deal in its 11th hour.

\"With free agency and us guys from the West Coast flying in to other cities, (trade talks) figure into lacrosse, so they weren\'t a surprise,\" Disher said. \"And it\'s something the team and I had good open communication about.\"

\"It was unrealistic what Calgary was asking,\" said Sanderson, admitting his Rebel would have looked like a Junior \'B\' team led by Kelusky. \"In hindsight, we\'re kinda glad it didn\'t happen. Without a doubt, Dish has been our best player.\"

The proof is in Disher\'s league-best .783 save percentage -- the statistic agreed to be the most telling of goaltending success.

\"I try not to put much faith in stats,\" said Disher, who broke in with the Buffalo Bandits in 1999. \"In Buffalo, we\'d get into 21-20 games, so as long as we won, I didn\'t care much about stats. It\'s just good to know I can be part of wins here.\"

Disher, 26, has all four Rebel wins in seven starts this season, thanks mostly to his steady -- and often spectacular -- play.

\"Part of it is his consistency,\" Sanderson said. \"But I truly think we\'ve become a much better team in front of Matt, and he\'s not facing 70 shots a game like he did last year. By the end of the night, he still has energy.\"

\"I\'m happy I\'ve improved the last few years,\" Disher added. \"But you can\'t do everything yourself. I have a good defence in front of me. I knew before the season it was going to be good, and I definitely welcomed being a part of things here.\"


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