The Door swings back

DARREN FRIESEN, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 10:12 AM ET

Curtis Palidwor thought Calgary was going to be his lacrosse home for years to come.

Calgary Roughnecks management, however, didn't see it that way, leaving the 37-year-old goaltender unprotected in the summer expansion draft.

Palidwor was scooped up by the New York Titans but then traded mid-season to the Edmonton Rush.

Needless to say, Palidwor didn't appreciate being dumped by the franchise he loved so much. He now has the opportunity to burn his old club as he leads the Rush into tonight's crucial matchup against the Roughnecks (7:30 p.m., 'Dome).

"I was bitter because I love the fans and city and figured I was going to end my career there," said Palidwor, who is one of the hottest goalies in the NLL right now.

"With the team not protecting me, that kind of turned my life upside down off the floor. Everything went haywire, so that was frustrating.

"Obviously, I took not being protected as a bit of slap in the face from the Calgary management. I'm looking to prove them wrong this weekend."

Palidwor was named the playoff MVP when Calgary beat Buffalo for the Champions Cup in 2004.

During his short tenure in the Big Apple, Palidwor struggled between the pipes, going 1-1 and posting a huge 16.15 goals-against average.

Knowing his potential, though, the Rush made a deal for the seasoned veteran that saw the New Westminster, B.C., native come back to Alberta in exchange for the Rush's 2007 first-round draft pick.

Since that time, The Door has closed off opposition shooters for the Rush and has been a huge factor in keeping Edmonton (5-7) in search of its first playoff berth.

"It was nice coming to a team in Edmonton that really wanted me and coming back to a situation where I was very familiar with the defensive players because I had played against them," said Palidwor, who's posted a 9.25 GAA since coming over from New York.

Palidwor will need to continue his solid play if the Rush have any hope of making the playoffs. Edmonton, which is fifth in the West Division, need to win its last four games in order to secure a spot in the post-season. It's a tall task but one the Rush players think they can accomplish.

"We definitely still believe we can get in the playoffs," Palidwor said. "We've got solid defence and goaltending and the offence is really starting to come around.

"We believe it's just a matter of time before we can put a string of wins together and hopefully that comes at the end of the season."

Palidwor makes no excuses for his play at the start of the campaign but admits Edmonton's defensive-minded system makes it a lot easier to play goal.

"It was a different situation based on the styles. In New York, the focus was on offence and there were a lot of new guys on defence who were trying to learn the systems.

"Because of this, we tended to play a lot of run and gun, where as in Edmonton, we try really hard to hold the other teams to under 10 goals and then have confidence that our offence can get 10 goals.

"It's a way better situation. I think any goalie would prefer a defence-first situation."

As for the Roughnecks (7-6), a win tonight would clinch a playoff spot.

Unless the Riggers win their last three matchups -- two against the Rush and one against Arizona -- they won't host a playoff game in the opening round. They would have to count on a top seed being knocked out to host a second-round matchup.


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