Rock rolled by Roughnecks

RYAN WOLSTAT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:52 AM ET

Fans of hard-hitting sporting events may have been anticipating last night's Ottawa Senators-Buffalo Sabres game more, but the Calgary Roughnecks, 17-13 victory over the Rock at the Air Canada Centre made that heated NHL contest look like the Ice Capades.

Fists flew, bodies collided and the teams combined for a ton of goals in as an exciting NLL game as has been seen in these parts in some time.

Both teams were tired after Toronto's 12-9 victory in Calgary a night earlier, but it was the Rock that found its reserve tank in front of 15,312 noisy fans, storming back in the fourth quarter to pull within two, after trailing 14-8 through three quarters.

With a little more time, the result may have been different, instead the Rock's four-game winning streak is over, while Calgary moved to 5-4.

Rock coach Glenn Clark credited his squad for not giving up.

"They didn't fold their tents and it would have been easy, they were tired," Clark said.

It's a shame Calgary and Toronto meet only twice a season. The rivalry between the two clubs is every bit as intense as the Rock's matchups with East division rivals Rochester and Buffalo.

"We don't like each other," Rock captain Jim Veltman said. "When it's on the floor with Calgary, it's war. That's the way we like it."

Rock's Patrick Merrill was ejected after instigating a fight with Devan Wray, while Calgary forward Kerry Susheski -- who had a hat trick -- was kicked out for starting a fight he probably regretted because of the beating he took from Rob Marshall.

COACH FIRED

Calgary vice-president/general manager Kurt Silcott reacted to Friday's loss by firing head coach Chris Hall -- who led the club to the 2004 league championship -- before he boarded the plane to Toronto.

Sillcot said though it was tough to fire a coach with Hall's track record -- Hall had led the club to playoff appearances every year since 2002 -- "sometimes it gets a little stale for the players and the team needed a spark."

The Roughnecks responded to the shocking change by jumping out to an 8-3 lead -- after falling behind by the same margin a night earlier -- and went to the half leading 11-6.

Susheski, Tracey Kelusky and Scott Ranger collected hat tricks for Calgary, while Josh Sanderson led the Rock with eight points.

Chad Thompson scored four times for the Rock, Blaine Manning had two, Sanderson and his cousin Phil added one, as did Veltman, Rusty Kruger, Ryan Benesch, Matt Shearer and Chris Driscoll.

The Rock travels to New York next weekend to take on the expansion Titans.

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REPORT CARD

B Offence: Looked good on the power play going 3-5, but struggled at full strength despite outshooting the Roughnecks, until the fourth-quarter rally.

C Defence: Bob Watson wasn't great, but his defence gave him little support. Backup Mike Poulin was solid in relief, stoping 10 of 12 shots as the Rock nearly rallied. Calgary had open looks all night and dominated on the power play going 4-4 through three quarters.


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