Riggers look defenceless

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:23 PM ET

The Arizona Sting honoured massive U.S. defence contractor Lockheed Martin before their game against the Calgary Roughnecks last night. The Riggers, playing with a badly depleted defence, could have used some of what Lockheed Martin was selling.

Arizona forward Lindsay Plunkett walked around a pick and beat Calgary starter Curtis Palidwor with 1:29 left to play for the winner as the Sting posted an 18-16 victory in National Lacrosse League action.

The Sting took advantage of the Roughnecks' compromised D corps, outshooting their guests 61-40 in the contest and gobbling up rebounds in the Calgary zone all night for multiple-shot barrages.

Roughnecks assistant coach Jeff Dowling made no bones about the defeat, saying his club's performance was sub-par.

"I think we didn't play well, that's for sure," said Dowling. "And I think Curtis didn't have his best game. He didn't play poorly but he wasn't at his best. We just made a lot of mistakes and it cost us. It was just a bad defensive game, overall, by us."

Ted Dowling, in his first game back with the Roughnecks since being re-acquired Wednesday night in a deal with San Jose, scored four goals for the Riggers, as did Kaleb Toth, who continued to have a hot hand.

Tracey Kelusky and Lewis Ratcliff had hat-tricks while Brad MacDonald and rookie Ryan Sharp added singles.

Pat Maddalena led the Sting with four goals while Plunkett, Cory Bomberry and Dan Dawson notched hat-tricks.

With defenders Jesse Phillips (knee injury), Travis Gillespie (illness) and Craig Gelsvik (work commitment) unavailable last night, Calgary was forced to field a patchwork back-end to try and contain the potent Sting attack.

Gillespie was supposed to start but had to be taken to hospital in Phoenix with an abscessed tonsil that caused his throat to swell shut, said Roughnecks president Brad Banister.

After receiving some drugs and an IV, Gillespie was released last night. The situation with Gillespie forced the team to fly in Sharp yesterday morning to fill the open roster spot. It was Sharp's first NLL action.

Calgary defender Rich Catton agreed the missing trio hurt the cause but that wasn't the biggest reason for the ugly defeat.

"It made it hard, they have a strong team," said Catton. "But we have to find ways to win. Our defence let us down tonight.

"I don't mind losing an 11-10 game if a team outworks us but when we're allowing 18 goals and we lose, that's embarrassing for us."

Palidwor was solid between the pipes early, turing aside 14 shots in the first quarter as the Roughnecks led 4-3 after 15 minutes.

The Riggers built a two-goal lead in the second quarter but Arizona kept pace before rattling off three unanswered goals to lead 9-8 at the half.

Calgary reclaimed the lead in the third quarter but the Sting replied with a three-goal run to end the quarter and lead 14-12.

After Plunkett's late goal, Calgary got the ball back, intercepting an Arizona pass with 26 seconds left to play. The Roughnecks called a time-out and then pulled Palidwor for the extra man.

They just missed converting when Arizona goalie Ken Montour, who replaced starter Mike Miron in the third quarter, came across and made a save on a quick stick by Dowling off a cross-floor pass from Kelusky.

Arizona's Peter Lough capped off the game with an empty-netter with six seconds left.

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ARIZONA STING: 18

CALGARY ROUGHNECKS: 16


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