Jax provide wakeup call

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:32 AM ET

If the first-place Calgary Roughnecks needed a lesson in complacency, it came last night courtesy of the Portland LumberJax.

Needing one win to lock up the National Lacrosse League's West Division, the Riggers failed to solve goalie Matt Disher, despite throwing 45 shots his way.

Even with a strong defensive effort and decent goaltending from Pat Campbell, the Riggers lost 11-9 in front of 10,387 fans at the Saddledome to keep the Jax alive in the chase for the title.

"We have to find ways to beat a hot goalie," said captain Tracey Kelusky. "Nine goals is not enough. Credit to their defence. Disher played well. We have to be better.

"We haven't played a full 60 (minutes) in four or five games. Not to take anything away from them. They are one of the best clubs we've seen this year. Hence, they are in second place. We have to push ourselves to a higher standard.

"Complacency, stale -- call it what you want."

Curt Malawsky had four goals, while Kelusky had a pair, including an incredible backhander that will hit the highlight reels. Josh Sanderson and Dane Dobbie had singles for the Roughnecks, who drop to 10-4.

The Buffalo Bandits (10-4) moved into a tie with the Roughnecks for first overall in the NLL by beating the Rochester Knighthawks 13-9 last night.

The Riggers are back at it tonight with another chance to clinch the division when they travel to Edmonton to face the Rush.

Scott Stewart had a hat-trick while Pete Jacobs, Ryan Powell, Peter Morgan all had two goals for the LumberJax (8-6), who are in Minnesota tonight to face the Swarm. Dan Stroup and Cory Conway had singles to round out the scoring.

The real star of the night was Disher, who made 36 saves and kept the Roughnecks off-balance with acrobatic moves.

Roughnecks head coach Troy Cordingley made a few roster moves for a shakeup as the team tried to knock off the same club that beat them in the playoffs last year.

After six straight starts by Matt King, the Riggers went back to Pat Campbell, who came on in relief in the past two home games.

Campbell made 31 saves on 41 shots to keep it close, especially in a third quarter dominated by the home side.

"You can't fault our five-on-five defence," Campbell said. "Our transition and man-down were a little suspect.

"But if we could have mustered a couple more goals in the fourth, it would have been a heroic story of the defence holding us.

"We are just disgusted with ourselves. We will turn this into a better game (tonight)."

Forward Kyle Goundrey was inserted into the lineup for the first time this season, and he replaced righty Scott Ranger. Defenders Peter McFetridge and Greg Hinman also played in favour of Scott Carnegie and faceoff specialist Nolan Heavenor.

The moves didn't really pay off, but that could almost be a symptom of being so far out in front of the division lead.

A win tonight would solve a lot of problems, especially because the Riggers are going to Portland next weekend to face the LumberJax on their home turf.

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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