Riggers rub out Rush

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:13 PM ET

EDMONTON -- It was a St. Patrick's Day Massacre at Rexall Place last night.

The Calgary Roughnecks led 14-4 at one point before cruising to a 16-9 thrashing of the expansion Edmonton Rush in National Lacrosse League action.

Calgary won the season series between the new Alberta rivals 3-1.

The dominating victory was sweet revenge for the Roughnecks. It came a month to the day after the now 1-11 Rush upset the Riggers 12-11 at the 'Dome, getting the game-winner with 0.1 seconds to play. It was the Rush's first and only victory of the season and losing to an expansion team -- from Edmonton, no less -- was a bitter pill to swallow.

"You just can't let a 1-10 team beat you twice," said Calgary forward Lewis Ratcliff, who led the Roughnecks with four goals and six points. "Simple as that. We learned from what happened last time and that was probably one of our better efforts of the season."

The 16 goals marked a season-high for the Riggers, who have won three games in a row for the first time this season and improved to 6-4.

Calgary plays the Stealth in San Jose tonight (8:30 p.m.).

Despite Ratcliff's heroics, the game star was unheralded defender Ryan McNish.

The rugged righty is a corporal in the Canadian Forces based at CFB Edmonton.

He put on a show in his adopted city, turning in a great performance that included two goals and earned him the game ball from his teammates.

"I feel the brunt of (that loss)," said McNish.

"Living in Edmonton, I read every day that the Rush's one win came against the Roughnecks. So it definitely hit home. We wanted to prove something. This shows if we play a full 60 minutes, no team in the league can keep up with us."

In that defeat, McNish knocked out Rush defender Chris Stachniak in a fight and was chastised by the Rush for celebrating too much after the KO.

There was talk this week in the Edmonton media the Rush would come looking for revenge.

Trent Smalley challenged McNish late in the fourth quarter but the refs got inbetween them and McNish, after dropping his helmet and gloves, walked away, impressing Calgary coach Chris Hall.

"We talked a bit before the game that they might send someone for Ryan and said the only thing he has to prove is how good a lacrosse player he is," said Hall. "I told him in the shootaround this morning I wanted two goals from him and he came up to me after the game and said: 'Coach, we're even.' I said 'You bet we are.' "

Said McNish: "The coach definitely called me out and said he wanted two.

"So, I was happy to deliver for the coach and the team."

The Rush started the game like gangbusters, jumping out to a 2-0 lead before Calgary rattled off five straight goals -- including a pair from rookie Callum Crawford in only his second NLL game -- to lead 5-2 after the first quarter and then 10-4 at the half.

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QUICK STICKS: Calgary F Kaleb Toth hit Rush G Pat Campbell behind the throat protector with a rocket of an outside shot during a third-quarter powerplay, dropping Campbell. He left the game and went to hospital for observation ... Rock Star: INXS finallist Suzie McNeil of Toronto sang at halftime while the show's co-host, Brooke Burke, served as the co-emcee for the evening. The Rush host the Colorado Mammoth next Saturday with a scheduled appearance by the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders.

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CALGARY ROUGHNECKS: 16

EDMONTON RUSH: 9


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