Roughnecks earn spot in playoff dance

IAN BUSBY, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 10:58 AM ET

The Calgary Roughnecks weren't going to back into the National Lacrosse League playoffs and wait until the final night of the regular season.

The Roughnecks beat the Arizona Sting 12-11 last night in Glendale, punching a ticket to the playoff dance because the Edmonton Rush lost earlier 14-10 in Portland.

The Roughnecks can host a first-round playoff game by beating the Rush tonight in Edmonton (7 p.m.) and if Arizona loses in Minnesota.

Things turned around last night when head coach Jeff Dowling pulled starting goalie Andrew Leyshon early in the third quarter when the Sting went on a three-goal run to build a 11-8 lead.

Backup Ryan Avery went in and made 10 saves in more than 23 minutes as the offence scored four goals to secure the victory. Avery will start tonight in Edmonton.

"We just seemed to play like a team once we made the switch," Dowling said.

"We kept them outside and everytime some cut into the middle, we hit them. There were Arizona players strewn about the floor on each possession. About five or six minutes of that and they stopped going intot he middle."

Scott Ranger scored five goals to lead the offensive attack, while Lewis Ratcliff chipped in a hat-trick to set the franchise record for most goals in a season.


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