With a glorious chance to become a villain in his hometown, Jeff Shattler was denied by the Hand of Bob.
Instead, rookie Aaron Pascas brought the Air Canada Centre fans out of their seats.
The Calgary Roughnecks fought back from a two-goal deficit to take the Toronto Rock to overtime Saturday night, and Shattler was poised to end it about four minutes into the extra session.
Alone on the edge of the crease, Shattler made a couple of great moves and looked to have the open net, but veteran Rock goalie Bob Watson desperately threw his hand in the way and the shot went off his stick.
On the next time down the floor, the Rock scored to earn a 9-8 victory and become the top team in the National Lacrosse League at 5-2.
Shattler, who had a huge cheering section at the ACC, couldn’t believe the save.
“I had the whole side as he dove across,” Shattler said. “He fell for it,
I had the open net and it hit his shaft … Those are one in a million.
“It was a perfect play. Those are goals you should have. Those were the breaks they were getting. It’s too bad the outcome was the way it was.”
Shattler and rookie Curtis Dickson scored their second goals of the game each in the fourth quarter to erase an 8-6 lead the Rock built with five straight second-half markers.
Dickson also had a great chance with seconds left in regulation that went off the post.
The Riggers (4-3), who will face the Rush in Edmonton Feb. 20, pulled a stealth move in the extra session to temporarily stifle the Rock attack.
As the Rock took a timeout, head coach Dave Pym called the referee over and asked that Colin Doyle be removed for sporting shoes with a logo of a company that’s not a league sponsor.
With the Rock star on the bench, the Riggers defence easily got the ball back, creating the chance for Shattler.
“They called a timeout and had a set play,” Pym said. “We took them out of their set play and generated a great scoring opportunity. But for a shaft, we win the game.
“Somebody might say karma bit us in the butt. But we shut them down on that particular play and gave ourselves a chance to win.”
Defender Mike Carnegie had a pair of goals for the Riggers in the first quarter as the visitors built a 4-1 lead. They led 6-3 at halftime when Peter McFetridge and Jon Harnett scored in the second quarter.
The offence was cold all night as Dickson was the only true forward to score. They even failed to capitalize on a five-minute five-on-three after Watson and Ryan Sharp took majors for drilling Scott Ranger and Shattler into the boards.
“Our passing and catching, the basic fundamentals of the game, we were real rusty,” Pym said. “We generated some quality opportunities but dropped balls.”
Doyle had two goals and three assists, while Blaine Manning had a goal and four helpers for the Rock.
Goalie Mike Poulin was outstanding for the Riggers, making 51 saves. The Kitchener resident had 65 friends and family members in the crowd.
“It’s a small benefit that
I get to sleep in tomorrow for the first time in a long time,” Poulin said. “It felt like a home game for me, but nothing compared to playing in the Saddledome.”