Power failure fries Roughnecks

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:52 AM ET

With the offensive weapons the Calgary Roughnecks throw out on the floor, you would think goals are automatic when the opposition is a man short.

Likewise, the swarming Riggers defence should be able to overcome opposition powerplays once in a while.

In a convergence of season-long trends, both of the Riggers’ special teams units were terrible during a 11-7 playoff loss to the Edmonton Rush Saturday afternoon at the Saddledome.

The Rush scored three goals on just three powerplay chances, while the Riggers went scoreless in four man-advantage opportunities.

Essentially, it was the difference in the game’s momentum, especially since the Rush came out with two powerplay goals to start the contest and never gave up the lead.

“That killed us all year,” said Roughnecks defender Andrew McBride. “It was our Achilles heel, and we addressed it this week. We practised it all year. We went over tape and just didn’t get it done.

“With two 10-6 teams, it’s the special teams that will be the difference. They were better, and that was the difference.”

The Rush were never on the powerplay for long before making the Riggers pay.

After Mike Carnegie took a cross-checking penalty just two minutes into the game, Gavin Prout made it 1-0 shortly thereafter. When Dane Dobbie took an unsportsmanlike conduct infraction midway through the first quarter, Ryan Ward converted less than a minute later for a 2-0 lead.

Through two quarters, the Riggers stayed out of the box, but Scott Ranger took an interference penalty 2:41 into the fourth quarter, and it was a crushing blow. It took the Rush just 19 seconds to score, and that halted a three-goal run by the Riggers.

“We needed to stay disciplined,” said Riggers defender Scott Carnegie. “Unfortunately, our PK hasn’t done well this year. They scored on all of their powerplays.

“They didn’t get any in transition, which was big for us, and our goalies didn’t play badly. We just didn’t get the stops when we needed them or the goals when we needed them.”

The sequence hurt even more when Rush defender Ian Crashley took a holding penalty after Kaleb Toth cut the lead to 8-7, and, once again, the Riggers couldn’t capitalize on their chance.

“Our powerplay was disappointing this year,” Toth said. “Our PK was great sometimes, and sometimes it wasn’t. But consistently, our powerplay was awful. It’s something we have to work on a lot harder for next year.”

Considering the Roughnecks have an offence that features NLL leading scorer Josh Sanderson and two-time 35-goal scorer Dane Dobbie — not to mention snipers such as Toth and captain Tracey Kelusky — there was no reason not to expect one goal from the powerplay unit.

The Rush had the eighth-rated penalty kill in the NLL this season, slightly ahead of the Riggers, but the visiting defenders came to play. Without anything going on special teams, the Riggers had no hope.

“Whenever we got some momentum, either they scored a goal or the refs called a bad penalty on us,” Toth said. “It’s unfortunate, but that’s lacrosse.”


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