Riggers win for first time in Toronto

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:18 AM ET

For sale: One monkey. Four-and-a-half years old. Recently removed from owner's back.

The Calgary Roughnecks shook off their pesky primate yesterday, finally beating the Toronto Rock at the Air Canada Centre.

Lewis Ratcliff had a hat-trick and seven points, captain Tracey Kelusky scored four goals and Curtis Palidwor made 42 saves as the Riggers downed the defending champion Rock 11-9.

It was Calgary's first win in Toronto, breaking an 0-5 streak of futility that dated back to the team's expansion season in 2001.

"It was awesome," said Kelusky, who scored three of his markers on the powerplay. "More importantly, it was great to put in 60 minutes. But, getting that monkey off here was awesome, too. Now, we know how good we are."

The Roughnecks improved to 7-5 to stay in the battle for first place in the West Division.

"It's unbelievably huge," said Ratcliff of the victory. "Not only to get a win in this barn but to get two games above .500 in this tight division."

Calgary head coach Chris Hall said his club had simply had enough of losing at the ACC against their bitter Canadian rivals.

"We've been waiting a long time for this," said Hall.

"I think we were just resolved we weren't going home empty-handed tonight. We've been coming here for five years and it was time to walk away from this building with a win instead of a loss. The guys stepped up and did it."

Calgary jumped out to a 2-0 lead just over two minutes into the game before Toronto notched a pair to tie it. Calgary lead 4-3 after 15 minutes and the clubs were tied 6-6 at the half.

With Calgary up by a pair midway through the fourth quarter, reigning NLL MVP Colin Doyle scored to bring Toronto to within one. Less than a minute later, Kelusky took a shot that Toronto goalie Bob Watson stopped but after scooping it up to pass it, teammate Chris Driscoll ran into the crease and Watson's stick hit his helmet and the ball popped into the net. Kelusky got credit for the goal.

It was a tough break for Watson, who made some stellar stops to keep the Rock in the game.

Aaron Wilson then scored with the extra man to pull Toronto back within one but Kyle Goundrey bounced one into the empty net to seal the deal for Calgary with 23 seconds left to play.

The game was wild affair in every area but one: Fights. Recent Calgary/Toronto tilts have been full of fisticuffs but yesterday, nobody dropped the mitts.

Both teams appeared more interested in the win and Ratcliff said Calgary has spent too much time planning out the fight card in the past.

"I think sometimes when we play Toronto, we get too involved in who's going to fight who and we just need to come and play," said Ratcliff. "And, we played great."

Calgary's defence kept the opposition under 10 goals for the fifth time this season.

"They weren't getting to the net with our defence and Pally wasn't letting anything in from outside and that's the way you have to play these guys," said Ratcliff.

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CALGARY ROUGHNECKS: 11

TORONTO ROCK: 9


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