Riggers nab all-star spots

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

CALGARY - Even with a change to his superstitious routine, Scott Ranger has taken the mantle as designated sniper on his lacrosse team this season.

Now that wife Jill is pregnant with the couple’s first child, Ranger has taken the ‘drastic’ step of moving his stick to the side of the bed instead of sleeping next to it.

Only on weekends, when he’s away from Nanaimo, B.C., playing with the Calgary Roughnecks, does the stick get its comfortable sleeping spot next to him.

“I have to share a little bit extra space with the wife being pregnant,” Ranger said. “The stick got put to the side but that’s OK. It’s working.”

Having a child isn’t the only first Ranger will experience this winter. On Monday, the National Lacrosse League announced its starters for the all-star game Feb. 27 at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y., and Ranger received one of the two forward slots.

Considering the competition he’s facing in the West Division, Ranger is a bit stunned to get selected along with Riggers defender Andrew McBride, who’s an all-star for the second time.

“I’m still a bit shocked by it,” said Ranger about his first all-star nod. “I will take the recognition when it comes.”

In six games, the 27-year-old fifth-year Rigger leads the team with 17 goals, putting him on pace for a career-shattering 45 tallies.

The Riggers expected to take a step back on offence after trading away stars Josh Sanderson and Tracey Kelusky, but Ranger has filled into the void.

He has earned a lot of those goals the hard way, by driving through the slot and putting his body at risk. Starting with the first game of the season, when he scored five times in a win over Buffalo, Ranger has played with extreme confidence.

“When you go to the net, go to the tough spots, you will get hit and I don’t mind that stuff,” Ranger said. “It’s part of my game. “I’m happy with my play but I know I can still be better, which is really good. My success so far is a direct result of the five guys on the floor. I’m happy with our team outcome.”

The Roughnecks were on a bye this weekend and that helped Ranger recover from a rough outing against the Edmonton Rush last Saturday.

Ranger was battling the flu and took two massive hits during the game, so he took a trip to the hospital to get checked out. He’s OK and didn’t suffer a concussion, but he was dehydrated.

This past off-season, the Nanaimo, B.C., native took time off from school (he’s working on a kinesiology degree) and spent time with his wife on her days off from nursing.

It was relaxing and he came back this season energized.

“It helped me with lacrosse and getting that drive back,” said Ranger, who still played summer lacrosse. “Having a nice loose summer — I still played and competed — but I did some fun stuff. That helped with my health and my mindset.”

The new addition is due in early April, and Ranger is thrilled for the change coming in his life.

“Hearing the heartbeat alone has put it in perspective,” Ranger said about the expected daughter.

“I already have her lacrosse stick and hockey stick. She will probably be an athlete.

“But all I care about is her being healthy.”

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