Sophomore Rigger turns Great Dane

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

Dane Dobbie insists none of his buddies have called to thank him for hoisting their National Lacrosse League fantasy teams to new heights.

And he's not waiting by the phone.

"They probably didn't even pick me," Dobbie said.

If that's the truth, the Calgary Roughnecks sniper has certainly made them regret it.

After notching just two goals and five assists in five outings as a rookie, you can't blame lacrosse poolies for dismissing Dobbie as a fantasy sleeper. The numbers he's put up in his second pro season should serve as a wakeup call.

The 22-year-old lefty turned on the red light 41 times in 16 regular-season contests, leading all Riggers and trailing only Buffalo Bandits sharpshooters John Tavares and Mark Steenhuis, with 51 apiece, on the NLL goal-scoring charts.

Dobbie, who also notched 35 assists, will be shooting for his first post-season tally tomorrow, when the Roughnecks host the Colorado Mammoth in a West Divisional semifinal tilt at the Saddledome (3 p.m.).

Dobbie notched six goals and added four helpers in a pair of regular-season dates with the Mammoth, so you can bet Colorado's defence corps will be keeping a close eye on his spot at the right side of the crease. Dobbie's days as a darkhorse are behind him.

"Being able to contribute on a nightly basis, he gained more confidence as the season went on," said Roughnecks captain Tracey Kelusky.

"He gained everyone's respect, not that he didn't have it, but he became our leading goal-scorer and we put the ball in his hands. That just added to his confidence. We put faith in him and he proved he could put the ball in the net."

He's not the only Riggers forward giving opposing defenders fits. The presence of veterans Kaleb Toth (33G), Kelusky (31), Josh Sanderson (29), Curt Malawsky (24) and Scott Ranger (19) gives Troy Cordingley's crew six legitimate scoring threats and one of the NLL's most dangerous attacks. While Dobbie has been Calgary's top trigger-man, he'd rather pass on the opportunity to discuss his individual statistics.

"Look at the stats and how many points other guys on our team have, too," Dobbie said. "That just shows that the ball is moving real well and everybody is getting their looks. The best thing about our offence is anybody can put the ball in the net at any time. And that's helped me out this year."

Dobbie is still making a name for himself in the lacrosse world, but his emergence as a top-notch attacker isn't a complete shock. The fourth overall selection in the 2007 NLL draft, he led the Western Lacrosse Association summer circuit in scoring last year.

When his squad opened training camp in December, Roughnecks owner/GM Brad Banister predicted Dobbie would score a "bucketful of goals" during his second season. In the four months that have passed since, the shifty southpaw has left opposing goaltenders feeling like fools and made his boss look like a genius.

Dobbie equalled his career total with a pair of markers in the season-opener in San Jose, then registered his first hat-trick two games later against Toronto.

In mid-March, Dobbie matched a Riggers franchise record with 11 points -- seven goals and four assists -- in a 22-10 rout of the Rush. So much for a sophomore slump.

"He's been amazing," Banister said. "He's shown us what he can do and he's only going to get better. He's not going to get worse."

Poolies, take note.


Videos

Photos