King back in net for Roughnecks

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:03 PM ET

Matt King would have appreciated a week of rest if it actually happened.

The Calgary Roughnecks No. 1 goalie watched from the bench as Mike Poulin earned the victory over the Orlando Titans Saturday night in Florida.

But with the extreme distance King and fellow Vancouver Islanders Nolan Heavenor and Scott Ranger travelled to get there, King didn’t return home refreshed.

“The airport was great and the hotel was nice,” King said about Orlando. “The three of us figured out we spent 31 hours flying there and back and were there for 29 hours. We spent more time travelling than actually being there.

“It was planes, ferries and automobiles to get there.”

Living up the Island meant the trio needed to drive down to Victoria, take a ferry over to Vancouver and then start the air travel.

On the way there, they went from Vancouver to Toronto and then Orlando. On the way back, there were stops in Charlotte, N.C., and Phoenix before another ferry trip and the drive home.

“We were a writeoff when we got home,” King said. “It was tiring to say the least. Then it was back to work the next day.

“It was a maddening 30 hours of travel, but it was a good one for sure (because of the 13-6 victory).”

It was the first time this season King didn’t start for the Roughnecks (6-4).

He returns between the pipes against the visiting Minnesota Swarm at the Saddledome Friday night (7:30 p.m., nll.com).

For the longtime backup, now two weeks between starts feels like a long time.

“I’ve been itching to get back in there,” said the 28-year-old teacher. “The team played really well and Mike played awesome. You never like sitting but everybody needs a chance. Mike is an excellent goalie and he deserves a chance.”

King became the starter midway through last season and he led the team to its second Champion’s Cup in the spring of 2009.

Poulin came on board after a trade with Boston Feb. 3, and he had only appeared in one game prior to this start.

With Poulin making 24 saves on 30 shots in the win, the Riggers have a solid tandem but King is still entrenched as the No. 1.

He understands he will get a night off here and there, and one of the prime times will be next weekend when the Riggers have road games in Toronto and Rochester.

“The only guy in this league is Anthony Cosmo who starts every game,” King said. “From where I came from a few years ago, it’s been amazing for how much I’ve gotten to play. I really appreciate it.”

After Poulin came in for a relief 10-8 win against the Toronto Rock Feb. 14, King was excellent for two victories but his last outing wasn’t his greatest.

“I didn’t have the best game against Washington when we lost 12-11,” King said about the Stealth defeat two weeks ago.

“Down the stretch, I let in some goals that shouldn’t have gone in. If I had made some of those saves, we probably wouldn’t have lost that game.

“I had a couple of good games before that but I would have like to have a few back in that last one.

“But things have gone pretty well for the most part.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


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