In a meeting of NLL heavyweights, the Calgary Roughnecks showed the Toronto Rock they have weapons on both ends of the floor.
Dane Dobbie scored four times, while Curtis Dickson and Jeff Shattler had hat-tricks, while Mike Poulin was outstanding in goal as the Riggers beat the Rock 14-9 Friday night in front of 10,075 spectators at the Saddledome.
The win improves the Riggers to 9-3 and ties them for the best record in the NLL with the Rock. If it came down a tiebreaker to decide who hosts the Champion’s Cup, the Riggers would be enjoying a Saddledome date.
If that happens, it would be great entertainment as there were outstanding goals, saves and hits in the Riggers’ fourth straight victory.
Daryl Veltman scored a pair, his first two-goal game for the Riggers, while Cory Conway also tallied for the Roughnecks, but the biggest star was Poulin, who made 41 saves.
Colin Doyle scored three times for the Rock, while Pat Maddalena, Kasey Biernes, Blaine Manning, Stephan Leblanc, Rob Marshall and Garrett Billings also tallied.
The Rock showed some uncharacteristic lack of discipline in the third quarter and it cost them dearly.
Dobbie crashed the crease in front of Bob Watson and the veteran goalie decided to add an extra shot to the Roughneck while he was on the ground.
Shattler scored on the powerplay immediately, and Phil Sanderson then took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and the Riggers built a 10-6 lead when Dickson scored.
Watson, who announced Thursday this season would be his last in the NLL, also moved into second place in all-time league saves, passing Dallas Eliuk.
The Roughnecks seem to get under his skin though, as he took a major during the first meeting between these teams — a 9-8 Rock win at the Air Canada Centre Feb. 12.
But the goalie certainly couldn’t be blamed as it was the Rock offence that didn’t connect enough, although the visiting shooters drilled at least a half-dozen posts.
The special teams didn’t help either, as the Riggers scored twice while shorthanded in the first quarter to take a 4-2 lead.
Right off the start of this one, the Roughnecks broke free for a trio of breakaways. After Watson saved the first two by Jon Harnett and Geoff Snider, Shattler finally found a hole on Watson.
The entire first half was filled with highlights.
On a Roughnecks powerplay, Dobbie scooped up a ball in the crease and windmilled it for a backhand shot to the bottom corner.
A little later, Dickson took a pass behind the Rock net, stepped out and tucked the ball behind Watson to give the home side a 7-5 lead at halftime.
Getting a lead at the break was key for the Roughnecks.
The Rock are a stunning
8-0 when leading at halftime and 9-0 when up after three quarters.