Rush fall to Roughnecks

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 1:15 PM ET

CALGARY -- The war of words between the Edmonton Rush and Calgary Roughnecks didn't amount to much.

A week of trash-talking buildup didn't result in any fisticuffs but the war on the floor was plenty heated. In the end, the Roughnecks had too many weapons in their arsenal for the Rush to contend with in the National Lacrosse League's first edition of the Battle of Alberta.

The talent-laden Roughnecks simply had more firepower and those few extra gunners were enough to boost Calgary to an 11-9 win in front of 13,335 fans at the Saddledome last night.

"It's our second close loss and it sucks," said Rush forward and former Roughneck Kevin Howard. "We proved to ourselves that we can play with the best in the league. We are for real but we need to win. We're not going to be happy with little comebacks until we actually end up on top."

DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH CHARACTER

The Rush were in it all the way until the end. They just didn't have enough of the right type of character to steal the win.

"The bottom line is we played two and a half good quarters," said Rush head coach Paul Day. "These guys have to learn that good character is not losing. Character is playing for four quarters."

Of big concern again to the Rush was the lack of punch on the power play. After going 3-for-6 against San Jose, Edmonton struggles worsened as they were a measly 3-for-12.

"If we'd have got a break and got a few power-play goals early, then it's a whole different game," said the Rush's Jamey Bowen who notched a hat trick.

Had the Rush been able to keep Lewis Ratcliff in check it would have been a different story as well. The Roughnecks sniper collected five goals and was Calgary's only consistent threat.

The Rush couldn't have asked for a better start as goalie Pat Campbell made a pair of clutch saves in the first minute. Those stops led to a Rush goal on their first shot when Cam Bergman scooted up the floor and Jordan Cornfield finished the fast break with his first goal of the season.

But the high-powered Roughnecks' attack couldn't be held back for long. Travis Gillespie scored Calgary's first goal of the year on a breakaway a minute later and Ratcliff put the Roughnecks ahead on a botched defensive assignment.

The Roughnecks looked to open the floodgates as Edmonton native Taylor Wray counted a pair before the second quarter was three minutes old and Ratcliff got his second with a hot shot.

But the Rush were able to hold back the tide. Jimmy Quinlan's power-play goal made it 5-2 and Kevin Howard struck for his first before the half ended.

RUSH CLAWED BACK

A tougher defensive stand from the Rush quieted the Calgary attack in the third and let the Rush claw back into it. Edmonton rattled off three straight goals, including two slick efforts by Bowen, but the Roughnecks answered back late and took a 9-7 lead into the final period.

Kerry Susheski's breakaway goal brought the Rush close at 10-9 before Jason Wulder sealed the deal on a two-man advantage that came from the only real physical showdown of the game.

Taylor Wray crashed the crease on a chance and was then thumped twice by Campbell.

"I don't know if he thought I ran him. Goalies have a tendency to freak out every so often," said Wray.

QUICK STICKS: The Battle of Alberta continues next Saturday when the Roughnecks visit Edmonton.


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