One rough night

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:26 PM ET

DENVER -- The Colorado Mammoth had seven long months to stew over its West Division final defeat at the hands of the Calgary Roughnecks last May. The Mammoth got its revenge last night.

Colorado walked away with the game in the fourth quarter, scoring four straight goals to beat the Riggers 12-7 before 16,397 fans at the Pepsi Centre in the season opener for both clubs.

It was in the same building more than half a year ago the Roughnecks stunned the Mammoth, the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, triumphing 13-11.

The Roughnecks advanced to the Champions' Cup final where they beat the Buffalo Bandits and clinched the NLL title.

The Mammoth, who went a league-best 13-3 during the regular season in 2004, could only sit and watch on TV as the Riggers hoisted the Champions' Cup and did a victory lap around the Saddledome.

"It's tough not to dwell on the past when they knock you out," admitted Mammoth all-star forward Gavin Prout, who had one goal and three assists in the win.

Tracey Kelusky and Kaleb Toth led the Roughnecks in scoring with two goals each while Gary Gait, the NLL's all-time leading scorer playing in his final season, paced the Mammoth with three goals and two assists.

The victory broke a nasty Mammoth home losing streak to the Roughnecks. Colorado had been defeated only four times at home in the two years since relocating to Denver from Washington, D.C., and three of those losses came at the hands of the Riggers.

"They just capitalized when they had their chances," said Kelusky of the loss. "Seven goals? That's just not enough."

The Mammoth and the Roughnecks , who were 1-2 in league scoring last year, waged a defensive battle for most of last night's season-opener in the Mile High City before Colorado's fourth-quarter explosion.

The Mammoth played three exhibition tilts while the Roughnecks didn't see any game-action in the pre-season.

The Riggers downplayed the significance of that publicly but privately many players said they expected to struggle a bit in the first quarter as they found their game legs.

That proved to be the case.

"It's the first game and I think we were a little behind the 8-ball coming into this building," said Calgary coach Chris Hall. "And it was the first time we played a game since Buffalo.

"I think we tired a bit in the fourth quarter and I don't think we shot terribly well all game."

Despite the lacklustre production, nobody in the Roughnecks dressing room was ready to push the panic button. With five of the best players in the league starting on offence for the club, most are sure last night was simply an ugly anomaly.

"I think we need to play our game and we didn't play our game at all," said Lewis Ratcliff.

"It's the first game of the year and that's to be expected sometimes. We'll make some adjustments in practice and we'll be fine down the road. We'll get this on track."

It was Calgary's first season-opening loss since the club's expansion year back in 2001 when the Roughnecks fell 32-17 to the Montreal Express.

Calgary returns to town for its home opener against the San Jose Stealth Friday.

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DENVER MAMMOTH: 12

CALGARY ROUGHNECKS: 7


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