What rust?

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 6:51 AM ET

When Andrew Leyshon jogged to the net Saturday night, you could have excused the Calgary Roughnecks' training staff had they went searching for the WD-40.

It had been more than four months since the 24-year-old had played a lacrosse game and more than 18 months since he competed in a National Lacrosse League tilt. If he was a little rusty, you'd never have guessed it.

With the Riggers trailing 6-2 after the first quarter to the Anaheim Storm at the Arrowhead Pond -- prompting the team to pull starting goalie Curtis Palidwor -- Leyshon entered the game and allowed only six goals on 29 shots over the final three quarters as Calgary won 13-12 and improved to 3-2 on the season.

Leyshon, signed as a free agent in the off-season to back up Palidwor for the defending NLL champs, admitted there were a few butterflies under his chest protector as he stepped off the bench.

"I was a little bit nervous," he said.

"I wanted to make a good impression. But I wasn't super nervous. I'd been there before and done it before, so I was confident.

"Practice isn't the same feel as a game, so it was different. But after halftime,

I felt pretty good, though.

I calmed down."

Leyshon didn't play the last NLL season after starting all 32 games over two seasons for the defunct Ottawa Rebel.

He stayed sharp by playing senior-A summer ball with the Burnaby Lakers, where he's also a teammate of Palidwor's, as they share the duties in net.

In the first four games of this NLL campaign, Palidwor had made 151 saves and sported a GAA of 12.

But after allowing six goals on 12 shots Saturday night -- although the team shared the blame playing sloppy defence early -- Calgary coach Chris Hall decided to put Leyshon in to shake up the team. It worked, said the backup 'tender.

"I wasn't expecting it," said Leyshon. "But you always have to be ready to go in. We kind of got off to a slow start and didn't really give Curtis the help he needed. They got a bunch of transition goals and we were down early. I guess the coach decided to maybe give our team a boost or wake them up a bit and put me in. It worked. They played great defence for me and made my job easy."

At one point, when the Riggers had settled down, Hall said there was some talk on the bench of putting Palidwor back in.

But ultimately he decided against it.

"We thought, 'There's no way,' " Hall said.

"Andrew was doing a great job and the team was playing hard for him, so we left him in and he made some great saves the rest of the way."

In fact, with the final seconds of the game ticking away and Calgary up by one, the Storm attackers were circling the net desperate for the equalizer.

Leyshon kept the door shut, said Roughnecks majority owner and president Brad Banister, adding: "He sure saved us at the end."

Lewis Ratcliff led Calgary in scoring in the win with four goals -- all coming in the second half. Calgary captain Tracey Kelusky and assistant captain Kaleb Toth each contributed three goals and two assists.

Kelusky now has 20 points in his last three games and is tied for fourth in league scoring with 27 points in five games.

Rob Williams, Kyle Goundrey and Andy Ogilvie, with a short-handed marker, rounded out Calgary's scoring.

Former Roughnecks Adam Bysouth and Shawn Cable led Anaheim with a pair of goals each.

The Roughnecks, tied for first in the West Division, return home to the Saddledome Friday when they host the 2-2 Colorado Mammoth (7:30 p.m., Ch. 27).


Videos

Photos