Stealth down Roughnecks

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

CALGARY – If this is indeed the Calgary Roughnecks' final game, they went out with a thud -- the sound of a ball hitting a goalie's pads.

Going scoreless for exactly half the game, the Riggers' rollercoaster season is over thanks to a 10-8 West Division final loss to the Washington Stealth in front of 10,125 fans at the Saddledome.

Now starts an uncertain off-season as the financial future of the National Lacrosse League team is on shaky ground.

"We don't know what the future holds but I hope we can keep it here because the fans are unbelievable," said head coach Dave Pym. "They deserve to have a team here.

"The way they support us, they deserve to have a better result. It hurts real bad.

"We're bitterly disappointed. With everything this team has had to endure this year, it's real emotional in the room. I'm sad for the boys."

The defending-champion Stealth now have a rematch of last year's final, this time at the Air Canada Centre next weekend against the Toronto Rock.

The Rock built a huge lead against the Buffalo Bandits and managed to hold on for a 12-11 road victory earlier Saturday night.

Daryl Veltman (with two), Curtis Dickson, Jeff Shattler, Geoff Snider, Kaleb Toth, Dane Dobbie and Scott Ranger scored for the Riggers but it was their lowest playoff goal total in franchise history.

The Stealth did a great job of blocking passing lanes and when the Riggers did get shots through, goalie Tyler Richards was solid, making 44 saves.

Between Veltman's goals in the first and third quarters, exactly 30:00 minutes came off the clock, as a 3-0 lead was turned into a 7-3 deficit.

"I'm sure it's happened before but I can't remember when," Toth said about the drought. "Their goaltender played really well.

"We beat ourselves. We turned over the ball too much. We were outhustled to loose balls. That happens sometimes. Sometimes you don't play great. They played well and beat us."

Jeff Zywicki and Lewis Ratcliff had hat-tricks to pace the Stealth attack. Paul Rabil, Rhys Duch, Luke Wiles and Cliff Smith also scored for Washington, which was inconsistent through the regular season but showed they are championship worthy with two road wins in the post-season.

It's not like the home side didn't have chances.

In the third frame, the Riggers piled up 14 quality shots, including one chance where Dobbie was completely alone on the crease only to make several fakes and have his attempt denied by Richards.

Special teams was also a big problem.

The Stealth took more than their share of penalties but the Riggers couldn't do much of anything with the man advantage after getting three early powerplay goals.

When Scott Carnegie took a third-quarter major for drilling Ratcliff in the head, the Stealth scored twice, including Ratcliff making the home team pay for their mistake.

Also tough was a Duch shorthanded goal allowed to get the Stealth on the board right after the Riggers could have gone up 4-0.

"We didn't deserve to win that one," said Roughnecks captain Andrew McBride. "We were sloppy in some areas. That's the frustrating part. We feel we let a lot of people down in this city. This is a tough way to go out.

"It wasn't our cleanest game. You need to play your best and we didn't play our best. They seemed to capitalize on their opportunities. Kudos to them but it stings because it wasn't our best effort."

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/ianbusby57


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