Get ready for the Battle of Alberta lacrosse style.
Thanks to Scott Ranger’s winner with 16 seconds left Friday night, the Calgary Roughnecks will host the Edmonton Rush next Saturday (1 p.m., Saddledome) in the opening round of the National Lacrosse League playoffs.
The plucky Colorado Mammoth didn’t make things easy on the Pepsi Center visitors by erasing a two-goal deficit with goals from Jamie Shewchuk and Jed Prossner in the final minute and five seconds.
But Ranger reached up and put home a rebound off a Dane Dobbie shot for his hat-trick marker as the Riggers escaped with a
11-10 victory to get second place in the West Division.
“If you saw the vertical on that, I should probably be playing in the NBA,” said Ranger with a laugh.
“We’re happy to come back to the Dome and get a home playoff game. It wasn’t the end-all, be-all, but we want to play in front of our fans and give them something to watch. It was pretty important to us.”
The Riggers finish the regular season at 10-6 and will host the Rush (10-6), who are making their first appearance in the NLL post-season.
The Washington Stealth host the Minnesota Swarm in the other West Division playoff game.
In Denver, Josh Sanderson had three goals and four assists to top the 100-point barrier and equalling the franchise single-season record held by Lewis Ratcliff (104).
Barring an amazing outing from someone else, Sanderson will finish the season with the NLL points title.
Dobbie, one of the Roughnecks’ key scorers, took a hard shot in the head in the fourth quarter, and it swung the momentum in favour of the home side.
Dobbie took a high-stick from Mammoth defender Ryan McFadyen, but Riggers couldn’t capitalize on the five-minute major.
Dobbie, who managed to return despite staying down for a long time, had a three-goal night to go along with four helpers. Jeff Moleski and Tracey Kelusky added the other goals.
The Riggers offence wasn’t great, but it did enough to win against former Calgary goalie Chris Levis, who made
47 saves in the loss.
“We would like to be playing better, obviously,” Ranger said.
“We’re going to build off the positives, and four straight wins is pretty big for us.
“We hope to keep rolling next week against Edmonton.”
Goalie Mike Poulin, who had relief victories the past two weeks, had his first start since April 2 and was strong in making 46 saves for the victory.
The Mammoth (4-12), who finish the season winless in eight home games, got a hat-trick from Prossner and a pair each from Cliff Smith, Jamie Floris, and Shewchuk. Ilija Gajic had the other goal.
This is the first time since the team moved to Denver from Washington, D.C., in 2003 that the Mammoth will miss the post-season.