Roughnecks claim NLL title

Roughnecks (L-R) Bruce Codd, Devan Wray, Jeff Shattler, Scott Carnegie and Andrew McBride in...

Roughnecks (L-R) Bruce Codd, Devan Wray, Jeff Shattler, Scott Carnegie and Andrew McBride in Calgary on Wednesday. (LYLE ASPINALL/SUN MEDIA)

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

It took five years, but the Calgary Roughnecks are once again National Lacrosse League champions.

For many of them, the 12-10 victory last night over the New York Titans at the Saddledome is more gratifying.

Back in 2004, goalie Matt King was a fresh-faced backup, and yesterday, he made 32 saves as the starting netminder.

"This is much more special," said King. "I was trying to crack into the league as a starter for years. I had a lot of years as a backup.

"Last year, to get traded twice in three months ... It's unbelievable to be starting in the playoffs."

With two goals from defender Bruce Codd, a six-point night from original Rigger Kaleb Toth, and an outstanding performance from King, Calgary led for the majority of last night's Champion's Cup in front of 13,042 fans at the Saddledome.

Toth had a goal and five assists to lead the offence and pick up his third ring.

This one is more special than the last because, last night, he put his nine-month-old son Deo in the Cup afterwards.

"I wanted to give him a taste of it," Toth said. "Hopefully, one day, he gets a chance to play and will want to do what his Dad had done.

"Since Day 1, no one picked us to win. They didn't even pick us to make the playoffs. We showed everybody. We knew from the get-go we had a great team and all we needed to do was work hard.

"Every championship gets better. No matter what league. You mostly remember the last one and I'll remember this one forever."

Captain Tracey Kelusky had a goal and three helpers, while lefty star Josh Sanderson notched two goals and three assists for the Riggers and was named game MVP.

Super sophomore Dane Dobbie had two goals, including a go-ahead marker in the fourth quarter, while Scott Ranger, Curt Malawsky, Mike Carnegie and Jeff Shattler also scored for the home side. Kelusky, who was also captain in 2004, celebrated on the floor with one-year-old son Kellar, and it made him proud to share the moment.

"It wasn't as nerve-wracking for me this time," Kelusky said. "I was able to enjoy it a lot more because I already had my Cup.

"But this never gets old. I want to keep getting more. I'm thrilled for the guys right now who haven't had one before."

Casey Powell had four goals for the Titans, plus two helpers in leading the visitors and keeping it close throughout.

Brendan Mundorf had two goals and three assists for New York, while Matt Alrich, Pat Maddalena and Jordan Hall rounded out the scoring.

The Riggers led 6-4 at halftime after a last-second goal from Toth to end the first half.

With just two seconds on the clock and coming out of a timeout, Toth fired a shot from 80 feet out and eluded Titans starting goalie Matt Vinc.

But the Titans battled back, thanks to Powell.

Following a long battle in the Riggers' zone, Powell was standing at the top of the crease where he bounced the ball at his own feet, but it expertly trickled over King's leg.

Powell, who went down briefly from a scrum in the second quarter and was in obvious pain, cut the lead to 10-9 with less then three minutes to play on another great effort. He drove around Riggers defender Devan Wray, then flew into the goal, hitting King but that was after the goal was good.

That was as close as the Titans would come to silencing the home Saddledome crowd.

Codd and fellow defender Mike Carnegie scored into an empty net to seal the win.

"It was up and down the whole game," King said. "It was so intense the whole game. "The whole season and the two playoff games didn't get us prepared for the intensity here. We knew they would play hard and that is a great team.

"It's a little surreal right now."

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos