OT win a 'Cliff hanger

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:02 PM ET

Two weeks ago at the National Lacrosse League all-star game in Toronto, Calgary Roughnecks forward Lewis Ratcliff scored in overtime to give the West a win over the East on national TV.

That was nothing compared to last night.

The Victoria native scored his second goal of the game 8:11 into overtime as the Roughnecks improved to 5-4 with a nail-biting 15-14 victory over the Colorado Mammoth before 12,028 at the 'Dome.

"That wasn't even close to this feeling," smiled Ratcliff. "That was just a fun one. This one was huge -- this one means something. This was a huge victory for us against these guys and for us as a team."

In a see-saw battle that looked more like a playoff tilt than a regular-season matchup, the clubs traded goals all night long.

With Calgary leading by one and 36.7 seconds left on the clock, Colorado got possession of the ball after a timeout.

The Mammoth got off a few great shots before former Roughnecks forward Chris Gill took a pass in the high slot and turned and fired, scoring with 5.6 second left to force overtime. It was Gill's second goal of the game.

Calgary won despite being tagged for an unheard of three five-minute highsticking majors. Colorado went 7-for-7 on the powerplay.

Calgary was 5-of-8 with the extra man.

"We always seem to make it hard on ourselves," said Ratcliff. "We just can't seem to win a game the easy way. Unreal. I don't think I could have gone another step. But, (Roughnecks goalie Andrew) Leyshon just kept making the saves. Really, the credit for this victory has to go to him. He was amazing."

Leyshon replaced starter Curtis Palidwor after Colorado went up 7-4 in the second quarter and played the rest of the game.

Feeling his goaltenders weren't pushing each other hard enough, Riggers GM Kurt Silcott traded for Ryan Avery two weeks ago to force competition and Leyshon admitted that motivated him to shine when he got the chance last night.

In overtime, he made a half-dozen stellar stops, none more impressive than when he stoned Mammoth rookie Dan Carey who was all alone on the doorstep early in the extra frame.

Jason Wulder led Calgary with four goals while Kyle Goundrey, Grant Hamilton and Kaleb Toth each had a pair. Kevin Dostie and Jeff Moleski added singles.

Roughnecks rookie Callum Crawford -- a second-round pick in the 2005 entry draft -- played his first NLL game and scored on a powerplay in the second quarter, sneaking a trickler past Colorado's Gee Nash.

Dan Stroup and Gavin Prout led Colorado with hat-tricks while Sherwood Park's Ben Prepchuk had a pair.

Ratcliff opened the scoring for the Roughnecks in the first quarter but Colorado's potent powerplay went three-for-three -- including twice on a five-minute highsticking major to Travis Gillespie -- to lead 4-2 after a very rough-and-tumble first quarter in which captain Tracey Kelusky fought Mammoth defender Jay Jalbert.

- - -

CALGARY ROUGHNECKS: 15

COLORADO MAMMOTH: 14

OVERTIME


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