Rigs need all hands on deck

DARREN FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:50 AM ET

The Calgary Roughnecks hold their playoff destiny in their hands.

But it's some of those hands that worry head coach Jeff Dowling.

While Dowling remains positive his club can clinch a playoff berth this weekend, he knows in order to win tonight in Arizona and tomorrow in Edmonton, players other than Tracey Kelusky and Lewis Ratcliff are going to need hot sticks.

"We've got our three main guys who do a lot of scoring," said Dowling, who includes Kaleb Toth as one of his go-to guys.

"But our secondary guys need to chip in. It's great when we get five goals from Nolan Heavenor but we're a better team if Nolan's scoring two goals a game than five one game and none the next.

"We need them consistent. Scott Ranger's like that too. One game he'll get three or four but then he goes games without any.

"We need those guys consistently putting up a goal or two a game and then being that secondary offence rather than going games without scoring at all."

In Calgary's last three games, they have lost twice by a single goal.

In both those losses, Ratcliff and Kelusky have combined for 35 points.

Yet, the Roughnecks have let two key wins slip away and now their playoff hopes hinge on how they fare this weekend.

Calgary will play the second-place Arizona Sting (9-5) tonight in Phoenix (8:30 p.m.) and then travel to Edmonton tomorrow for a game at Rexall to close out the regular season.

There's a plethora of playoff scenarios that can affect the West Division standings this weekend.

For the Roughnecks, who hold down the last playoff spot in the division, back-to-back wins could get them to second place and earn a home playoff date.

Losses, however, could put them back into fifth, ending their season.

Dowling realizes there's tons on the line this weekend, that's why he needs his transition guys -- Heavenor, Ranger, and Jeff Shattler -- helping out on offence.

"They're not going to be able to shutdown all three of our big guys," said Dowling. "But if they shut down one of those guys, then we've got to have the other three guys that are chipping in with a goal or two goals each."

Calgary could've clinched a playoff berth last weekend with a win over the Rush. Instead, the Riggers' late game rally fell just short because they couldn't produce the tying marker.

Dowling realized how important more offence could've been for the team, that's why he talked with the transition crew and made them understand if the Roughnecks are to succeed, they'll need to step up.

"I pulled them aside and talked to them and they all seem to not want to shoot because Lewis had the hot stick," he said.

"And when they took shots they weren't taking good shots, they were just putting the ball on net.

"I explained to them that they need to get better shots because even if Tracey and Lewis are getting 17 or 18 each a game, there's another 25 shots out there. They need to make them good ones."

As for the Roughnecks' goaltending, no word on whether Andrew Leyshon or Ryan Avery will get the start.


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