Roughnecks better late than Everett

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:38 AM ET

Not even a cold-weather delay could cool off the hot Calgary Roughnecks.

After beating the Buffalo Bandits 10-9 to open the National Lacrosse League season Saturday night at home, the Riggers were delayed at Calgary International Airport for two-and-a-half hours Sunday afternoon before departing for Seattle.

Once the team arrived there, they quickly hopped on the bus for Everett, Wash., arriving just 70 minutes before a delayed balldrop against the host Washington Stealth.

None of that mattered, as the Riggers are now 2-0 and coming home with a 13-11 victory over the defending NLL champs.

The way they rushed through the pre-game, it makes one wonder if they want to forego heavy-duty warmups every outing.

“We would rather have more time to prepare,” said Riggers head coach Dave Pym. “But that’s a gut-check kind of win for us. It’s still early, and we made a lot of mistakes we need to correct.

“It’s a long season. We’re happy we got another W, but we’re certainly not satisfied. It is a great way to start though.”

Dane Dobbie had a hat-trick — the tying goal midway through the fourth quarter and two in the first as the visitors took a 6-2 lead — while Jeff Shattler also potted three.

Scott Ranger notched the winner with 1:35 left and added three assists, as the fifth-year Riggers have taken the reigns as the clutch offensive player.

“He knows we have a lot of confidence in him,” Pym said about Ranger, who had five goals Saturday against the Bandits.

“He knows if he follows the processes we have agreed on, he knows he will be successful. When he uses his skill and athleticism, he can be a force in this game.

“It’s all clicking for him. He had a real good summer, and it’s carrying through. His confidence is real high right now, and he’s enjoying some success. He’s going to show everyone around the league he can do it on a consistent basis.”

Curtis Dickson, Geoff Snider, Mike Carnegie, Kaleb Toth, Daryl Veltman and Peter McFetridge also scored for the Roughnecks, who received another solid night from starting goalie Mike Poulin.

Former Roughnecks star Lewis Ratcliff scored five times for the Stealth, while Luke Wiles and Rhys Duch had a pair each.

The defending champs roared back in the second quarter, taking a one-goal lead before Shattler’s hat-trick marker had the teams tied 8-8 at the break.

It was knotted 10-10 after 45 minutes, and the Stealth took a one-goal lead nearly four minutes into the final frame.

But Dobbie zipped home the equalizer on a low bullet before five minutes were gone in the fourth quarter, and the Riggers took the edge with Ranger’s first of the night.

“We were fortunate at times,” Pym said. “We did that thing in lacrosse you want to avoid, and that’s allow a team to go on a big run.

“We were hard on ourselves, but it was nice to see the guys gut-check and come up big to get the win.”

Both teams suffered injuries Saturday night.

While the Roughnecks will be without defender Nolan Heavenor (high ankle sprain) for four to six weeks, the Stealth played Sunday without notorious Calgary killer Jeff Zywicki, who was hurt Saturday against the Colorado Mammoth.

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/ianbusby57


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