Rush 'n' rust

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:16 PM ET

The Edmonton Rush had threatened to feed the Calgary Roughnecks a can of Whoop A-- last night. Only problem: No can opener.

The Riggers won the inaugural National Lacrosse League Battle of Alberta, beating the expansion Rush 11-9 before 13,335 at the 'Dome in Calgary's season opener.

"It wasn't pretty," said Calgary captain Tracey Kelusky, held to only one goal on eight shots.

"But we'll take the two points."

Rush owner Bruce Urban ruffled Roughneck feathers this week by taking out ads in Calgary papers which vowed his team would crush the Riggers.

If the tactic fired up Calgary's players, they didn't show it on the carpet, as their performance was lacklustre, at best. The Rush (0-2) were in the game until the dying seconds.

Roughneck Lewis Ratcliff blamed rust.

"It was the first game of the year," reasoned Ratcliff, who led Calgary with five goals.

"We don't get any exhibition games, really. We were the same way last year. We went into Colorado (an opening-night 12-9 loss) and played a pretty bad game and got beat.

"So, it's nice just to get a 'W.' We know what we're going wrong and what we need to correct, so I think we'll be all right."

Defender Taylor Wray, with a pair, Travis Gillespie, Kyle Goundrey and Jason Wulder had the other Roughneck tallies.

Native Edmontonians dominated the scoring for the Rush, accounting for seven of the team's goals.

Jamey Bowen had three, former Rigger Kevin Howard had a pair while Jimmy Quinlan and Jordan Cornfield had singles.

Kerry Susheski and Trent Smalley also scored for Edmonton.

Bowen said his teammates will take a moral victory out of the defeat.

"They were pretty lucky to come out winning," he said. "A few breaks early and it's a different ball game."

The Roughnecks led 2-1 after the first quarter despite being outshot 11-8 and taking four penalties in the first 15 minutes.

Calgary led 7-3 at the half but Edmonton trailed only 9-7 going into the fourth quarter.

The final shot count was 47-44 for the Rush.

Calgary heads up the QE II for a return engagement next Saturday night.

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CALGARY ROUGHNECKS: 11

EDMONTON RUSH: 9


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