Roughnecks keep start in perspective

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

Although they are off to their best start in history, the Calgary Roughnecks aren't getting ahead of themselves.

The National Lacrosse League team knows you can't win a championship in the first month of the season.

But it is possible to limit your title hopes with early struggles, which happened to the Riggers last season starting 2-5.

By going 3-0 with a chance to make that an unprecedented 4-0 tonight against the San Jose Stealth (7:30 p.m., nll.com for video, Fan960 radio), the Roughnecks are headed in the right direction.

"It's nice not to have to dig out of a hole," said Riggers defender Andrew McBride.

"It's good to not have that unwanted pressure on us early in the season.

"It's nice to have a gap and be able to put guys in and out of the lineup not because of injury.

"It takes pressure off every-one and allows us not to grip the sticks so tight and just enjoy the game. When we enjoy the game, we're better as a team."

Unlike last year, the Riggers have come out of their first month healthy.

A year ago at this time, both starting goalie Steve Dietrich and captain Tracey Kelusky were out with concussions.

Dietrich has been replaced by Pat Campbell, and Kelusky is back doing well.

Kelusky's presence has made a difference as the Riggers have become the surprise team to some pundits in the NLL.

"It's a similar team to last year with a lot of one- or two-goal games but we're finding a way to win those ones now," Kelusky said.

"It's better to be 3-0 than 0-3.

"But as far as being a surprise. No, we fully expected to be 3-0 and hope to be 4-0 after this weekend."

The Riggers don't have a great home record against the Stealth in their history.

The Stealth beat the Riggers 13-12 in last season's home-opener and, despite the 1-2 record, will still be contenders for the West Division title.

So the Roughnecks aren't getting too excited about their new season just yet.

"I feel pretty good about how it's started but three games don't make a season," said forward Kaleb Toth, who has six goals this season.


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