Riggers emerge as best in West

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:12 AM ET

They haven't lost in the calendar year, have dominated two of the contenders in their division and appear to have no weaknesses.

The Roughnecks may just be the best kept sports secret in Calgary.

"We're OK with that," said head coach Troy Cordingley.

"The guys are playing well. It's big for us that everybody knows what they are doing out there. Hopefully, we can start spreading the word and get more fans out."

A little more than 10,000 showed up to see the Riggers whip the Minnesota Swarm 13-8 Friday at the Dome.

The final score doesn't really explain how much the home side dominated.

The Riggers defence shut down the Swarm attack for more than 27 minutes and the offence built leads of 6-0, 7-1 and 9-2 before letting up.

The Swarm moved into the West Division this season after tying for top spot in the East last year. Minnesota was one of the expected favourites along with the San Jose Stealth.

So far, the Riggers are 3-0 against those two teams in going 5-0 to start the season.

The swarming defence put together its best effort Friday and, if not for a couple of loose-ball mishandles by goalie Pat Campbell, would have allowed just six goals.

Despite the two bobbles, Campbell gave his team championship-style goaltending for a full 60 minutes and played his best game since joining the Riggers last season.

"The guys have totally bought into the system," Cordingley said. "On offence, they are so creative and we don't want to take that away. The ball moves so well with them.

"We were just phenomenally defensively (Friday) in limiting their good shots.

"Paddy was real solid. He made some really nice saves, but it was a solid defensive effort. The 10 guys out there were just giving their all.

"We're happy being 5-0 but, again, we're still realistic and we know it's a long way to go."

The Roughnecks go on the road next weekend for their first meeting with the Colorado Mammoth before returning home Feb. 22 against the expansion Boston Blazers.

Although all parts of the Riggers are clicking, Cordingley and his staff have done a great job of keeping the team focused.

"It's great going 5-0 and that's a big step for us," said forward Dane Dobbie. "But we go into every game with a clean slate. It's a new game. We have to win that game. So we win that one and carry on."

Next week, the Riggers have a chance at putting more distance between themselves and the competition in the West Division.

"These are all big games," Cordingley said. "We have a big rivalry with Colorado, but we also have a lot of respect for them.

"We will be ready for them, too."


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