Bring on the zingers

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:01 AM ET

Curtis Palidwor is no stranger to power. As an electrician by day and lacrosse goalie by night, the New Westminster, B.C., product admits fiddling with live wires is much more nerve-racking than stopping 100 m.p.h shots.

"Playing with live power is definitely more stressful," said Palidwor with a chuckle.

However, facing some of the hard zingers from the Arizona Sting Saturday in the National Lacrosse League West final might still be a bit of a shock to the system.

Then again, Palidwor's ready to put up with that pain over and over again as long it puts his team in the Champions Cup final again.

"You hope that the other team comes out firing right away," said the 32-year-old. "I like it when I get lots of shots in the first quarter because it kind of gets me into the game."

Palidwor, who finished the regular season with a respectable 13.36 goals-against average and a .748 save percentage, will be relied upon heavily once again to help the Riggers defend their title. In order to get another shot at the crown, Palidwor knows he and the defenders in front of him are going to have their work cut out for them.

Similar to the Roughnecks, the Sting boasts a very powerful offence with the likes of Dan Dawson, Craig Conn and Lindsay Plunkett, all of whom almost single-handedly picked apart the Colorado Mammoth last weekend in their 16-13 Western semifinal victory.

The talented trio combined for 12 of the team's 16 goals.

Stopping those guys is never routine but the 5-ft. 11-in. 190-lb. Palidwor feels he's done his homework.

"Some players have their favourite areas but the good ones in the NLL will mix it up. It's just a matter of learning what their little tell-tale signs are for where they're going to shoot. Because even the guys who do mix it up, they do give away their shots before they shoot.

"It's just a matter of figuring those out."

Calgary finished first in the West for the second straight season and won the season series against Arizona 2-1.

With that in mind, Palidwor feels he already has the scouting report mapped out in his head. Even though he knows the playoffs are a different story.

"It's a whole new season. Playoffs is really a time to crack down on your fundamentals and really limit your mistakes," he said. "We learned that last year in the playoffs and we're looking forward to this weekend."

Not only did Palidwor have a solid season between the pipes, he also had a great season on the scoresheet. With 17 assists this season, he's become an integral part of the Roughnecks transition offence.

"Our team likes it when our defensive guys and our transition guys score goals. I think it was just more fortunate that the guys I hit scored but transition is huge in this game, that's for sure," he said.

Riggers head coach Chris Hall knows Palidwor is an integral part of the Riggers' success and he will be key in any championship run.

"There's no question that goaltending and defence are a huge part of winning championships," said Hall. "Curtis had done a great job all season long of first stopping the ball and then getting the ball out, so we can transition. That's been a big part of our success."


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