'Necks playing for pride today

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:46 PM ET

With their first West Division regular-season title wrapped up, the Calgary Roughnecks will be playing for something nearly as important today -- pride. The 9-6 Riggers take to the carpet at the 'Dome (2 p.m.) against the 12-3 Toronto Rock in National Lacrosse League action with little else on the line but bragging rights.

Calgary owes a debt of gratitude to the Anaheim Storm, which edged the Arizona Sting 11-10 last night in Glendale, Ariz., giving the Roughnecks the West Division title.

The Riggers will get a first-round playoff bye and will host the West Division final April 30 at 8 p.m. at the 'Dome.

But, before looking ahead to the playoffs, the Roughnecks first have to finish out the regular season against the Rock. Calgary is desperate to beat Toronto after losing 16-10 twice this season at the Air Canada Centre.

The Roughnecks, 1-7 lifetime against their Canadian cousins, are seeking a little retribution today, said Calgary starting netminder Curtis Palidwor.

"Pride is huge," said the veteran.

"They've handed us two pretty good defeats this season and it's frustrating on our behalf. We want a little revenge. They don't like us, we don't like them. It's the Battle of Canada. There's not much more to say. Pride is huge for both teams, especially us since we've lost twice."

Riggers captain Tracey Kelusky, who leads the team with 37 goals, said his club both wants and needs to finish the season on a winning note.

"We're playing for pride and, more importantly, confidence," said Kelusky. "I'll go back to last year. That's why we were so successful and maybe why Toronto is so successful right now ... It's important we get that confidence back before the playoffs.

"We don't want to start the playoffs with a loss. We want to start on a winning streak."

If the Riggers make the championship final, they'll have to face an East Division opponent.

This season, they're 0-3 against the East, which doesn't sit well with defender Andrew McBride.

"We're always trying to get over that hump with Toronto," said McBride. "So this game is really big. And we want to show the East we can win against them."

- - -

NEW GUY APPEARS: Chris (No Fear) Kinnear attended his first Roughnecks practice yesterday, taking to the carpet at the 'Dome. Signed to the team's practice roster prior to the league trade deadline, Kinnear is considered one of the NLL's top pugilists.

Calgary head coach Chris Hall said he hasn't decided if he'll dress Kinnear today against the Toronto Rock.

"There's a lot of things to be decided in the next 24 hours and that's one of them," said Hall. "First we'll see how he looks today out there and go from there."

If Kinnear plays today and Toronto dresses Tim O'Brien, it would set the stage for one of the most anticipated lacrosse fights in recent memory between the sport's top two heavyweights.

"It's kind of funny," said Kinnear of the hype surrounding the potential tilt. "It's something that has kind of dragged on for two years and our paths always just miss each other and maybe that's why. A lot of people yearn for the old-time lacrosse and (fights) don't happen that much anymore."


Videos

Photos