It's good to be King

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

The last time the Calgary Roughnecks won a playoff game at the Saddledome, Matt King had the best seat in the house.

That was back in 2004, when King was the backup goalie for the Champion's Cup winners.

He was in the spotlight yesterday, and it turned out he out-duelled the guy he was backing up five years ago.

King made 40 saves as the Roughnecks beat the Colorado Mammoth and former Riggers goalies Curtis Palidwor and Andrew Leyshon 15-8 yesterday in the National Lacrosse League's West Division semifinal.

For King, it's his first playoff victory after years spent watching others, but he looked like a solid veteran in stifling the Mammoth attack in front of 9,760 fans at the Saddledome.

"The one thing Curt Malawsky said to me was 'everyone has to start somewhere,' " King said about the advice he received from the Riggers' oldest player.

"It was nice to get the first one. It won't make any difference to the next one, but it's nice to get this out of the way. Next week will be a game like any other."

The Riggers move on to host the San Jose Stealth Saturday at the Saddledome for the West Division crown (7 p.m.).

They do so on a roll.

The team came out flying yesterday, scoring three breakaway goals by defenders and chasing starter Leyshon in the second quarter.

With a 10-3 half-time lead, the Riggers defence took over in the second half and shut the door.

"Any time you get 10 goals in a half, I will certainly take it," King said. "It was nice going out there for the second half. Our offence was so good all year, and they put the ball in the net. As far as six guys, it's been so balanced. It makes my job much easier when we get 15 goals. If I'm letting in more than 15 on a regular basis, I shouldn't be here."

Dane Dobbie had a hat-trick and four helpers in leading the Roughnecks offence, while captain Tracey Kelusky also scored three times, the most crucial being a shorthanded tally in the first quarter.

Josh Sanderson and Nolan Heavenor each scored twice for the hosts, while Kaleb Toth, Jeff Shattler, Scott Ranger, Curt Malawsky and Scott Carnegie added the others.

"There were no passengers in this one," Kelusky said. "The Calgary Roughnecks are best when there are no passengers. We're best when the guy next to you is working just as hard. It's fun to play and fun to watch."

"You can't say enough about Kinger," added Riggers defender Andrew McBride. "He's stepped up and earned his spot.

"He's been huge. He's our MVP so far this year."


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