Riggers' best yet to come

Roughnecks' (l-r) Bruce Codd, Devan Wray, Jeff Shattler, Scott Carnegie and Andrew McBride mug for...

Roughnecks' (l-r) Bruce Codd, Devan Wray, Jeff Shattler, Scott Carnegie and Andrew McBride mug for a photo at the team's Calgary headquarters in advance of the NLL championship game. (Sun Media/Lyle Aspinall)

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

For three quarters a week ago, the Calgary Roughnecks were perfect.

Almost too perfect.

Their goalie was working on a shutout, had scored a goal, and the team was up 15-0 on their West Division final opponent.

The Riggers rolled to a 17-5 win over the San Jose Stealth, which was their second straight playoff blowout.

They are now in the Champion's Cup with ease, and their biggest test comes tonight against the New York Titans (7:30 p.m., Saddledome).

Unlike the WHL's Hitmen, who rolled through three playoff rounds before losing the final, the Riggers are convinced they can get even better.

All season long the team has talked about peaking at the end, and, in their minds, they aren't there yet.

"After the West semifinal, a lot of people said that was our best game of the year," defender Bruce Codd said about the 15-8 win over Colorado.

"We came out last week and had a better effort. In my opinion, you will see a better game in this one."

The Riggers' opponent has a great deal of momentum as well. The Titans knocked off the defending-champion Buffalo Bandits 9-3, but GM/head coach Ed Comeau concedes his team will need to raise its game as well.

Comeau knows this is a battle of a potent offence against a stingy defence that is riding a hot goalie (Matt Vinc).

It could come down to home floor, which gives the edge to the Riggers.

"Any time you are at home and are putting up 17 goals in front of the home crowd -- those people's hands must have been sore from clapping -- that's momentum," Comeau said yesterday upon arriving in Calgary.

"They earned the right to be at home. Both teams had great performances last week and I expect it to be a pretty hard-fought game down to the wire."

Another thing the Riggers have in their favour is they are extremely focused, which was evident when they ran up the score on the Stealth.

With several veterans who have been to the big game multiple times and lost, the entire team is determined not to let those players down.

"We have some guys on our team that have been to the big dance but have never got to dance with the pretty girl. They're always in the back corner," said Riggers forward Kaleb Toth.

"Guys like Curt Malawsky, Bruce Codd, Kyle Couling -- guys that have played a whole career and never won anything -- those are the kind of guys you want to give an extra effort for so those can get a championship before they hang up their sticks."

Codd went to the Champion's Cup in 2005 and 2007 with the Arizona Sting, and in each one there was a turning point in the opening minutes.

So he is ready to come out and make sure the Riggers take control from the start.

He's also hoping third time is the charm.

"This team has certainly earned the right to win," Codd said.

"We have put the work in. We deserve as a group to be rewarded, not necessarily myself.

"As a team, we've really strived to get to this point. We hope to finish it off."


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