Goal short

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

It all came down to one measly goal. After playing 15 games this season and recording 371 goals for and against, a single marker proved the difference when it came to the Calgary Roughnecks hosting a first-round National Lacrosse League playoff game at the Saddledome. Mike Regan's tally 1:58 into overtime Saturday night in a 14-13 win over the Riggers clinched the San Jose Stealth a spot in the post-season.

It also handed them a yet-to-be-announced home tilt against the Roughnecks in the first round of the playoffs April 16-18.

Had the Riggers won, they would have locked down that date at the 'Dome instead.

But it was not to be as, only a night after beating the Toronto Rock 11-10 in double overtime at home, the Riggers got the short end of the stick in extra time.

"This is a tough one to swallow," said Calgary captain Tracey Kelusky following the loss. "Really tough."

The Roughnecks made the playoffs last year in their second NLL season a year ago but lost to the Buffalo Bandits on the road.

After picking up plenty of talent in the off-season, the goal for this year wasn't just to make playoffs but to win the NLL championship.

The preferred first step, the team has said all along, was to secure a home playoff date.

"It's obviously disappointing for us," said Calgary coach Chris Hall.

"We wanted to play a home playoff game at the Saddledome so it's incredibly disappointing to us. That was our goal this year and we worked hard but we didn't get there.

"We came up one goal short."

If there's a silver lining to Saturday's loss, it can be found in the Roughnecks' home and away records this season.

Saturday's loss to the Stealth was only the Riggers second defeat away from the 'Dome this year.

It came more than two-and-a-half months after their first road loss, an 18-12 decision against the Toronto Rock at the Air Canada Centre Jan. 16.

On the road, they have outscored the opposition 113-96, while at the 'Dome the margin has been much narrower at 82-80.

Their home record stands at 3-4.

Calgary wraps up the regular season at home against the 1-14 Anaheim Storm this Friday (7:30 p.m.).

Last season, the Riggers were 6-2 at the 'Dome and 2-6 on the road.

Given their reversal of fortunes, perhaps starting their quest for the Champions Cup in Silicon Valley isn't such a bad idea.

"On the upside, obviously this is a team we know we can beat and a team we know we can beat in their building," said Hall.

"We have two weeks to get healthy and come back and be sharp and beat these guys.

"Personally, I like our chances.

"But still, I would have just preferred to have won and played at home."

The Roughnecks have won once already at HP Pavilion, edging the Stealth 17-14 March 13.

The trick now is to put Saturday's defeat behind them.

A victory against the Stealth in two weeks would mean a ticket to Denver to take on the Colorado Mammoth, who won the West Division and earned a first-round bye.

"We all wanted a home game for our fans so this hurts," said Kelusky.

"Everyone has their heads down right now. We have a bitter taste in our mouths. We know we let (majority owner and president) Brad Banister down and our fans down and we let ourselves down. But that taste in our mouths will drive us to win in two weeks."


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