Ratcliff makes point -- lots of 'em

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:20 AM ET

Team Canada brass should get an assist for the Calgary Roughnecks' home playoff date this Saturday.

About a month ago, Riggers forward Lewis Ratcliff found out he wasn't invited to play for Canada at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship in Halifax this summer.

The power lefty went out for the next five National Lacrosse League games determined to show the powers that be they made a mistake.

Ratcliff played a more rounded game, in his opinion, but also scored 41 points in the final five outings to help the Riggers earn the right to host the Arizona Sting in a first-round playoff matchup (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., 'Dome).

"It was something I keep focused on in the weight room and in practice," said the 25-year-old. "It couldn't have happened at a better time because I was pretty angry about it and I started playing my best lacrosse of the season.

"I want to keep it going. Playing for Canada is what I've wanted to my whole life, so it's pretty disappointing."

Roughnecks captain Tracey Kelusky and defenceman Taylor Wray will play for Canada when the competition begins a week after the Champion's Cup is awarded.

Although Ratcliff is happy for his teammates, he couldn't help but think Canada could use his stick somewhere, especially after a season in which he set Roughnecks single-season records for goals and points.

"I feel I should be on it," said Ratcliff, adding it's hard to knock lefties such as John Grant Jr., John Tavares and Colin Doyle. "I understand the picks they made. They have some great lefties on that team. But I don't know what else you want me to do. I told them that."

Ratcliff finished second in NLL goal-scoring with 50 to Grant's 51, although the Rochester Knighthawks star played one fewer game. With 104 points, Ratcliff was third in the league behind Grant and Arizona's Dan Dawson.

But had Ratcliff been more selfish, he could have scored more in a rout against the Edmonton Rush Saturday.

The Roughnecks spread the offence around in crucial weekend wins over the Sting and Rush and it wasn't until late against Edmonton Ratcliff started thinking about goal totals.

"I wanted to get to 50 and the guys were really pushing for it," Ratcliff said. "They knew I was one away at the end of the game. They bumped me to the front of the line each possession and my shooting was just awful."

No. 50 came in the final seconds but it's not something Ratcliff will remember years from now.

"Getting an empty-netter isn't the best way to score a 50th goal but at least it went in."


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