Riggers get rolled

DARREN FRIESEN

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

One and out.

This has been the harsh playoff reality for the Calgary Roughnecks the past two seasons and last night was no different.

The Riggers were handed a 13-9 loss by the Arizona Sting in the West Division semifinal game at the Saddledome, ending their 2007 campaign.

For Calgary, the loss marks the third-straight season the club has bowed out after only one game in the National Lacrosse League playoffs.

For captain Tracey Kelusky, the disappointment of losing another post-season game was evident after the game as he sat slouched over in his stall.

"We never really peaked this season," said Kelusky. "It's frustrating because this is a championship team, absolutely.

"I can't explain it, though. Whether it's complacency because we had the same group of core guys here for a while, I don't know why we weren't able to find that groove all season."

Last night's game was similar to the 2005 divisional championship where the Sting beat the Roughnecks 19-15.

However, this time, Arizona dominated from end-to end and for the Roughnecks, the game was indicative of their up and down season.

"We played well in spurts," said head coach Jeff Dowling. "But every facet of our game was a major letdown at different points of the game.

"I thought our defence struggled at times, our goalies let in some weak goals and our offence couldn't find the net."

The Roughnecks looked as if they could complete the comeback, tying the game in the late stages of the third quarter.

Yet, Arizona's offence came alive for the second time in the game, putting a stop to the rally.

"Give them credit, they played a complete team game," said Dowling.

Four players on the Arizona lineup, including Dan Dawson and Craig Conn had five or more points in the win.

Calgary's sniper, Lewis Ratcliff -- who finished third in league scoring with 104 points and second in goals with 50 -- was only held to a single tally last night

"I just thought he tried to do to much," said Dowling. "He wasn't being selfish because he wanted to win but he needed to pass off some more."

The game started with both teams playing cautiously.

That didn't last long. As the minutes ticked down in the first quarter, both squads settled their nerves and got down to playing playoff lacrosse.

Which meant plenty of transition opportunities, big hits and solid saves on both sides of the ball.

Following the first 15 minutes of play each team had a powerplay marker and went to their respective benches knotted at 3-3.

The second quarter was all Arizona.

Calgary's defence fell asleep during the opening minutes of the second frame and allowed the Sting to open up a four-goal lead, scoring three markers in 64 seconds.

Rookie Ryan Avery, who started the game in net for the Riggers, was given the hook with the score 7-3 Arizona.

His replacement, Andrew Leyshon, managed to fair a little better, making stops and helping his team re-establish some momentum.

It wasn't quite enough, though. Kaleb Toth and Tracey Kelusky both scored to bring Calgary within two goals but the Sting lead 8-6 at the half.


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