According to Scott Carnegie, empty-netters shouldn’t count as goals. They are just too easy.
The Calgary Roughnecks defender’s first of the season went into a yawning cage, but it certainly wasn’t one of those simple, end-of-game ones that pad stats.
In the middle of the third quarter, Carnegie picked a rebound off the crease with goalie Nick Patterson sprawled out, circled the white line and went airborne to tuck the ball inside the far post.
Carnegie’s goal was part of a 10-1 run that spurned the Riggers to a 15-12 victory over the Minnesota Swarm in front of 10,486 spectators at the Saddledome.
“I told you I was due,” said Carnegie, who was the only Riggers player to play every game and not score this season.
“That was crazy. It was a lucky moment. The net moved for me when I dove. I was just thinking, ‘Please don’t be in the crease.’ It was awesome.”
The victory clinches first place in the West Division for the Roughnecks (10-3), who head to Minneapolis for the back-half of this doubleheader weekend.
During the last 10 doubleheaders, the Riggers are 10-0 in the second outing, and Calgary is still battling the Toronto Rock (10-3) for first overall in the entire National Lacrosse League.
Without Scott Ranger, who was with his wife Jill for the birth of the couple’s first child, the Roughnecks offence took some time to heat up, but when it did, the Swarm were left in the dust.
Jeff Shattler and Dane Dobbie each had hat-tricks for the Riggers, while Kaleb Toth, Cory Conway and Curtis Dickson had two-goal games. Geoff Snider and Daryl Veltman also scored as the Roughnecks, who overcame a 6-2 deficit in the second quarter to take control.
It started with Toth getting a shorthanded marker, the first point of a two-goal, five-assist performance from the veteran.
While killing a phantom Dobbie penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, Toth used a defender as a screen and ripped a long shot from the middle of the floor to cut the deficit to three.
But the Riggers found a huge turning point right before the half ended. Conway found Patterson’s five-hole on a long outside shot, and after the goal Travis Hill took a major for drilling Dobbie up high.
Out of the break, Dobbie and Toth scored on the powerplay and the Riggers were on their way to a massive run.
“We knew we didn’t have a great first half and we needed to be better,” Toth said. “We had a great opportunity to score two goals and we did that. It gave us confidence.
“We know we can score when we move the ball and play our systems. We didn’t play the system or move the ball in the first half.”
Before this outing, Carnegie took heat from teammates as other full-time defenders scored.
But he wanted to put an asterisk beside captain Andrew McBride’s goal from a week ago because it came with the goalie pulled in a win over the Toronto Rock.
Carnegie can at least say his was important to the win.
Every year for the past three seasons, Carnegie has finished the season with just one tally and if this is his only one in 2011, it will be memorable.
“I might change that this year,” Carnegie said. “I’m calling it. I’m getting another one.”
Toth was suitably impressed with it.
“He’s young. Those young guys can dive like that,” Toth said. “Us old guys don’t have the energy and don’t have the vertical like we used to.
“It was a big momentum boost for us to see a D guy battle hard and make a great dive to score. It was great for us.”