Riggers penalty kill proves goal-den

DARREN FRIESEN

, Last Updated: 10:12 AM ET

Unlike most businesses in Calgary, the Roughnecks don't mind being shortstaffed these days.

The Riggers scored four shorthanded goals last night as they beat the Minnesota Swarm 15-14 in National Lacrosse League action at the Saddledome.

Despite scoring seven man-advantage markers, the Swarm (1-3) allowed the Roughnecks (3-1) to score those four shorthanded tallies and set a single-game franchise record.

The Roughnecks now lead the league with nine man-down goals.

Last night's penalty-filled affair wasn't pretty.

"There was just no flow to that game because there was constantly someone in the box," said Calgary captain Tracey Kelusky.

"It was hard to get anything going but we beared down and got it done. We have to be smarter, though, and learn how to play with the lead. Whether it's penalties or bearing down on loose balls, we've got to stop making it so hard on ourselves."

Aiding the penalty killers last night was backup Roughnecks goaltender Ryan Avery, who relieved starter Andrew Leyshon at the midway point of the second quarter.

Down two goals, Roughnecks head coach Chris Hall pulled Leyshon in favour of the young Avery, who slammed the door on the Swarm, stopping 27 of 34 shots in two-and-a-half quarters of play.

"I thought Leyshon was doing fine in there but we needed something to happen, we needed to shake it up," said Hall. "Avery did a marvelous job back there and it shows that we have a good situation back there with two solid goaltenders."

For Avery, the experience was nerve-racking but he took it in stride.

"It was all the defence, the credit needs to go to them," said Avery. "They limited the chances and let me see the outside shots and took away anything inside."

Avery's performance sparked a Calgary comeback to tie the game 7-7 but shortly thereafter, Kyle Goundrey took a five-minute major.

It didn't matter, though, as Lewis Ratcliff and Kelusky both scored shorthanded goals to put the Roughnecks up by two heading into the half.

Following the break, Minnesota scored twice to even the affair but Kerry Susheski got the record-breaking shorthanded tally with two defenders draped all over him.

Roughnecks transition player Nolan Heavenor, who played for the Swarm last season, scored the first man-down marker in the first quarter.

From there, Calgary appeared in the driver's seat but in typical Roughnecks fashion they let the visitors back in it late.

The Swarm scored four unanswered goals -- three on the powerplay late in the fourth quarter -- to make a hard charge.

Next up, the Roughnecks travel to San Jose to take on the 1-4 Stealth Saturday night.


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