This was one victory that certainly wouldn't have won any beauty contests. A slow-starting Calgary Roughnecks squad came to life in the fourth quarter last night, scoring six straight goals to beat the Anaheim Storm 18-15 in National Lacrosse League action at the Saddledome.
The Riggers were outhustled and looked disorganized for the first three quarters of the game but stayed close, only trailing
13-12 going into the final frame.
That's when Calgary's potent offence, held in check most of the game by a smothering Storm defence, exploded to dig out from the deficit and take the lead for good.
Calgary captain Tracey Kelusky -- who scored two consecutive goals during that late run and led the team with four goals --wasn't pleased with his team's play.
He said the reason for the lacklustre performance by the defending NLL champions was simple.
"I think it's the same thing that's happened to us all season," said Kelusky.
"We have that mentality that because we won last year and we have the nucleus of our team that we don't have to work.
"And the parity in this league this year is so unbelievable, you have to work every shift of every game."
The one positive the Roughnecks took from the game is when they had to step it up to earn the win, they did.
The Roughnecks' big three on offence -- Kelusky, Kaleb Toth and Lewis Ratcliff -- combined for 23 points.
Kelusky also had a pair of assists, while Toth had three goals and six helpers and Ratcliff -- who scored both his goals during the six-score rally -- ended the night with eight points.
Jason Wulder scored a hat-trick for Calgary while Andrew Biers had a pair.
Jesse Phillips, Rob Williams, Kyle Goundrey and Jeff Moleski rounded out the scoring for the Riggers.
Former Rigger Shawn Cable led Anaheim with four goals, while another former Roughneck, Matt King, took the loss in net, making 35 saves on 53 shots.
Storm head coach Derek Keenan said his game plan to beat Calgary worked most of the night and without that late lapse, they likely would have pulled it out.
"But that's why they won a championship last year," said Keenan.
"They were probably pretty confident they could come back. Meantime, we have a pretty young team and they were probably sitting there going, mentally: When are we going to fall apart? That's not good.
"If we had stayed the course, stuck to the game plan both offensively and defensively, we probably would have come out with a win."
With the victory, Calgary improved to 5-3 at the season's halfway point, while Anaheim fell to 2-5.
The Roughnecks now get a three-week break before taking on the Colorado Mammoth in Denver March 13.
Calgary hosts the NLL all-star game next Saturday at the 'Dome.
Kelusky said while the team has struggled over the first half of the season, they have to look on the bright side.
"We're 5-3, I guess you have to look at it on the positive," said Kelusky.
"But is anyone really happy here in this dressing room?
"No, I don't think so.
"We know we can play a lot better than we have."
Anaheim scored five goals on its first
10 shots and Calgary starter Curtis Palidwor was eventually pulled in the second quarter after making 10 saves and allowing eight goals.
Backup Andrew Leyshon finished the game for the Roughnecks.
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CALGARY ROUGHNECKS: 18
ANAHEIM STORM: 15