'Tender moment

ROD KELLY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:33 AM ET

It's the type of dilemma every NLL team wants to have.

As the Calgary Roughnecks get set to play host to the Toronto Rock (4-7), the Riggers are in the enviable position of having to choose between the solid Matt King, who's been perfect at 4-0 in net, or the proven Pat Campbell, now sitting at 4-2 with a respectable .758 save-percentage this season.

Who gets the call between the pipes tonight (7 p.m., Saddledome, nll.com) is anybody's guess, but one thing's for sure: King will be happy with whatever decision the Riggers' coaching staff makes when the classic cross-country rivalry begins.

"Honestly, to me, it doesn't make that much of a difference," said King, who was stellar last Saturday with 42 saves in leading the Riggers to a 13-10 victory over the Colorado Mammoth.

"Of course you always want to play, but it really depends on a lot of things. Sometimes it depends on how goalies feel, or how they've been playing.

"This weekend will be a tough decision, though," admitted King.

"We have back-to-back games and we'll be on the road for the second game and in another time zone. I wouldn't be surprised if we split the duties."

The red-hot Riggers (8-2) follow up tonight's home game with a road matchup against the Minnesota Swarm (5-6) tomorrow.

The Riggers did a number on the Rock in Toronto Jan. 17, winning 16-9 and a victory tonight will go a long way in helping secure a post-season position.

With two wins this weekend, the playoffs are guaranteed for the Roughnecks and the club could also secure a spot in the second season with a single win this weekend and at least one loss by the San Jose Stealth.

Two losses by the Stealth and one loss by the West Division rival Edmonton Rush would also put the Roughnecks through to the playoffs.

While all these opportunities to put a lock on the playoffs may seem like a huge motivating factor for the Riggers tonight and tomorrow, King and forward Scott Ranger agree thinking too far ahead would serve as more a distraction than a benefit for players.

"We just want to stick with our gameplan and not think too much about anything else," said Ranger, who, like King, has been one of the club's leaders lately.

While King shut the door on the Mammoth in the last win, it was Ranger who helped lead the way offensively, scoring twice versus Colorado, including a nifty third-quarter goal that put his team up by three.

Ranger said the Riggers can expect the Rock to be pumped tonight. Ditto for Calgary.

"Toronto is always up when they play us," he said.

"It's one of those good rivalries, but we've had a lot of success this year mainly because we're a run-and-gun team," said Ranger. "That's how we'll have to play tonight and tomorrow. We can't lay back."

King said he's expecting a total team effort from the Roughnecks tonight because bringing that style of play to the plate has been the norm this year..

"We know we have an excellent team," said King. "It's been our biggest strength this year -- solid play offensively and defensively.

"Wins are always good morale wise, whether we're facing a team close to us in the standings or fighting for a playoff spot. It always feels better to win."


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