Beasts of the East

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:32 AM ET

While it's not physically possible to actually fake someone out of their jock strap, Calgary Roughnecks captain Tracey Kelusky came about as close as you could to doing it yesterday. Midway through the fourth quarter of the National Lacrosse League's all-star game at the 'Dome, Kelusky took a feed all alone in front of the net, turned around and threw a half-dozen fakes on East Division goalie Dallas Eliuk.

Eliuk stumbled backwards and did a half gainer, pushing his net towards the boards and flipping it around. Kelusky got the shot off and thought it might have found the twine before the net turned but the refs waived no goal.

"I honestly think it went in," said Kelusky. "The netting moved at the last second. But, whatever. Eliuk played awesome. He stood on his head all game."

That goal would have made the difference in the game.

Buffalo Bandits forward John Tavares scored 45 seconds into overtime as the East beat Kelusky's West team 11-10 on a game carried live by NBC.

Kelusky, who finished with one goal and three helpers, was named the game's MVP, taking home a flat screen TV. The MVP was voted on by fans in the 'Dome and at home via text message.

The voting ended before the end of the fourth quarter, prior to Tavares scoring his third goal of the game to win it for the East.

Still, Kelusky was worthy of the honour after playing a stellar game and bringing the crowd of 11,551 to their feet on many occasions.

"I had awesome chances and I think I worked for a lot of my chances," said Kelusky, who was named a starter for the West.

"I was getting lots of opportunities, just moving my feet and trying to create stuff."

Dan Dawson scored three to lead the West while Roughnecks Lewis Ratcliff and Jesse Phillips each had a single.

Gary Gait, the NLL's all-time leading scorer who will retire at the end of this season, also scored for the West.

Tavares, who recently joined Gait as the NLL's only 1,000-point men, paced the East with his hat-trick.

The story of the game, outside of NBC's coverage of it, was the stellar defence and goaltending that turned the game into the lowest scoring all-star tilt in the league's history. The East beat the West 19-15 last year in Denver.

San Jose's Jim Moss, who was voted a defensive starter for the West, said everybody stepped up to the plate when it came to containing the game's top offensive stars.

"The way they selected it this year, they didn't just pick an offensive lineup," said Moss.

"The best D guys from around the league are here. We knew, with how good these guys are, we couldn't slough off as a defence and I think we played real solid and so did the East guys."

The four goalies that took part in the game -- Gee Nash and Anthony Cosmo for the West and Pat O'Toole and Eliuk for the East -- made a total of 83 saves in the game.

More important than the score of yesterday's contest, though, was its ability to sell the sport to a world-wide audience in the U.S., Asia and Europe.

Moss said the players were pleased with the overall performance they put forth.

"Everybody was doing it for the game of lacrosse tonight," said Moss. "They just weren't doing it for the league or the team -- it was for the whole support of lacrosse. I'm glad to see every single guy here brought their 'A' game."

- - -

EAST: 11

WEST: 10

IN OVERTIME


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