Riggers buck up

DARREN FRIESEN

, Last Updated: 1:49 PM ET

In order to be successful, sacrifices have to be made.

This is the philosophy for most people in a competitive environment.

For the Calgary Roughnecks, though, this 'pay the price' attitude has become more than just a school of thought.

Instead, it has become their mantra as of late and has proven to be successful.

"I think all the guys have all bought into our new philosophy," said head coach Jeff Dowling, who will guide the Roughnecks against the Arizona Sting tonight in their West Division semifinal playoff game (7:30 p.m., Saddledome).

"I've tried to convince them that we have to pay the price and that's kind of become our motto, lately.

"I think we've got all the pieces to go far but it's just a matter of putting them all together like we have the last couple weeks."

Dowling says his team's ability to avoid bad penalties and drive the lanes on offence has played a huge part in the club's strong finish to the regular season that saw the Riggers win their final two games and secure the second seed in the West.

"The defensive guys have to suck it up and, if someone's holding them, they can't take a shot at the guy and take a bad penalty," said Dowling.

"And the offensive guys have started to cut into the middle and take the hits to get the good shots. They've all started to buy into this and I think we showed last weekend that we're starting to do all the little things that we need to do."

One of the biggest problems the Roughnecks had this season was their inability to stay out the penalty box.

The Riggers were the third-most penalized team (397 minutes), behind only Rochester (459) and San Jose (401) this year.

A reason, said Dowling, the Roughnecks lost some close games.

However, Dowling believes his players finally understand keeping their cool in close situations is all part of this new philosophy.

"We've talked to the players and told them they need to keep their emotions in check," he said. "It's all part of playing for themselves and the guy next to them. We still took some bad penalties last game but we we've been a lot better."

The Roughnecks will need to be on their best behaviour if the expect to advance past the Sting.

The Riggers, who beat the Sting two of out of three meetings this season, will have their hands full with a talented offensive Arizona group that includes Dan Dawson and Craig Conn.

That said, the Sting have lost three straight to close out the season while the Roughnecks are rolling, having won their last two.

These two teams have only met once before in the playoffs, which was in 2005 when the Sting beat the 19-15 at the 'Dome to win the West final.


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