Rough on his former team

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

Ben Prepchuk made a triumphant return to the Saddledome last night, helping to bury his former team.

Prepchuk scored five goals and added three assists as the Colorado Mammoth downed the Calgary Roughnecks 14-11 in front of 13,139 -- the biggest home crowd in Riggers\' history.

With the loss, the Roughnecks fall to 8-7 and its National Lacrosse League playoff drive becomes rocky.

The Vancouver Ravens beat the Columbus Landsharks 19-7 yesterday in Ohio, which meant the Riggers could have locked up a playoff berth with a victory last night.

Now the team\'s fate will be decided by next weekend\'s final slate of NLL games, including Calgary\'s last game of the year, Friday at the \'Dome (7:30 p.m.) against the Buffalo Bandits.

Colorado, on the other hand, kept its playoff hopes alive, improving to 8-7.

Prepchuk scored the first goal of the game only 53 seconds in, beating Jesse Phillips one-on-one and burying it past starting goalie Curtis Palidwor. Prepchuk added two short-handed markers and a powerplay tally along with two assists in the first half as the Mammoth built a 10-3 lead after 30 minutes.

\"It feels good,\" said Prepchuk of his game star performance.

\"It was tough at the beginning of the game, seeing everyone and everything, but once it got going, I was OK.

\"I love this building, I\'ve always played well in this building and everything went right for me tonight.\"

Prepchuk was dealt from the Roughnecks to New York on Dec. 20 after being unable to reach a new contract with Calgary. Also worried about how much floor time he\'d get after the addition of Tracey Kelusky, he had asked to be dealt.

The 23-year-old native of Sherwood Park, who didn\'t report to New York and was then traded to Colorado, was second in Roughnecks scoring last season and led the team with 40 goals.

Calgary managed to mount a late comeback in the third quarter when Lewis Ratcliff\'s first of two goals in the game sparked a 7-1 Roughnecks run that actually made a contest of it.

However, the Riggers were unable to overcome their poor start.

\"Terrible,\" said Roughnecks head coach Chris Hall. \"Absolutely terrible. They crushed us in every facet of the game (in the first half).\"

\"It was mental breakdowns,\" said Kelusky, who scored twice. \"Not being focused, not knowing what we need to do. I think I\'m the most guilty guy on the team. Brutal.\"

Colorado captain Gary Gait, the all-time NLL leaders in goals and points, scored his 58th goal of the season exactly 11:11 into the third quarter, setting a new single-season goals mark.

It just so happened to be the Victoria native\'s 36th birthday yesterday.

Gait broke his own record of 57 set in 1998 when he was playing with Baltimore.

\"No question about that,\" said Gait, \"it was a big win for us. We had a lot of guys step up tonight.\"

The two teams met earlier this season on Feb. 14 with the Roughnecks winning 14-13 in OT. That was Colorado\'s first loss of the year. Tyson Leies led Calgary in scoring with three goals while Kaleb Toth had a pair and John Kilbride and Neil Doddridge added singles.

QUICK STICKS: The Sun three stars were Ben Prepchuk, Tyson Leies and Gary Gait ... The crowd showed respect to their American visitors by standing up and cheering during the playing of The Star Spangled Banner.

COLORADO MAMMOTH 14

CALGARY ROUGHNECKS 11


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