Dan Dawson did it again.
He's donning different colours this season, but the star attraction for the expansion Boston Blazers proved yesterday he's still kryptonite to the Calgary Roughnecks.
Dangerous Dan potted the game-winner with 36 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, capping an 11-10 come-from-behind victory over the host Roughnecks at the Saddledome in the first-ever meeting between the two squads.
"(Dawson) seems to get big ones when it matters," sighed Riggers captain Tracey Kelusky. "He got a big one tonight. That's why he's one of the best in the game."
Dawson, who torched the Roughnecks in last year's West Division final as a member of the Portland LumberJax, finished with two goals and five assists yesterday for the Blazers, while rookie sensation Daryl Veltman notched a hat-trick and added a pair of helpers.
Sniper Josh Sanderson was the bright light for the Riggers, bulging the twine five times and chipping in two assists, although that was little consolation after his squad gassed a lead in front of 10,045 home fans.
"They wanted it more than us -- that's the bottom line," Sanderson said. "They wanted it more than us, and they got it."
The Riggers were up 9-7 after three quarters, but couldn't slam the door on the Blazers, who hit the jackpot when they claimed four-time all-star Dawson in an off-season dispersal draft.
After Nick Cotter and Matt Lyons scored to even the score at 9-9, Dawson dished the ball to Veltman, who buried his third of the contest with just over four minutes remaining to give the Blazers the lead.
Sanderson tied it up 38 seconds later, but Dawson was determined to take two points back to Beantown. As time ticked away, the NLL's assist leader set up shop in the high-slot and ripped a bullet past Roughnecks netminder Pat Campbell.
"With Dawson, the more time he has to shoot, the more dangerous he is. He can pretty much put it anywhere," Campbell said. "I thought I had good position on him -- I thought I was out and square -- but he just found the one spot that I couldn't get to and got it there before I did."
Kelusky potted two goals and added four assists for the hosts, while Dane Dobbie lit the lamp once and had five helpers. Kaleb Toth and Jeff Shattler also tallied for the West Division-leading Roughnecks, who've lost back-to-back games after winning five straight to start the season.
Jason Bloom, Paul Dawson, Brendan Thenhaus and Jay Thorimbert each had singles for the Blazers, who improved to 6-3 and trail only the Buffalo Bandits in the East Division.
Not bad for a team that was expected to take some lumps in its first campaign.
"We beat a good team, probably the best team in the NLL, and it's a big confidence booster for us that we can play with them," Dawson said. "And the way we did it, to gut it out like that, is huge."
The Roughnecks pay a visit to Madison Square Garden next Saturday to battle the New York Titans. The Saddledome carpet will collect dust until March 21, when the Riggers entertain the Colorado Mammoth in their next home date.