Rigger workin' overtime

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:44 AM ET

As much as Jeff Moleski hates missing lacrosse games, his excuses for being absent four times in the past year are valid.

A year ago, Moleski's wife Cara gave birth to the couple's first child, son Jackson, at the same time the Calgary Roughnecks were losing in the playoffs to the Arizona Sting.

This season, the rugged defender was forced to skip three Friday outings because he started a new job in January at his home in Prince George.

He didn't have enough holidays built up to get time off, so in order to take care of his family, the 26-year-old had to put his second job on hold.

Such is life in the National Lacrosse League.

"It's hard to ask for time off when you've only been there a week," said Moleski.

"I started slowly this year with the Roughnecks, having the new job.

"I didn't get to many practices ... but I've been able to pick it up in the last little bit."

Luckily for Moleski, the playoff games are Saturdays. The Roughnecks are thankful, too.

Moleski played great as the Riggers beat the Colorado Mammoth last week, and he will be key to shutting down star Dan Dawson and the Portland LumberJax attack tomorrow night at the 'Dome (7:30 p.m.).

With Moleski and retired defender Craig Gelsvik out against Dawson's Arizona Sting last April, the Riggers couldn't contain the power shooter.

Over the past month, Moleski left his family at home to train for his job in Vancouver.

He will fly to Calgary today to prepare for the second-round matchup, and will participate in one of his first Friday practices all season.

Moleski moved over from his job at a sawmill to Terasen Gas, where he helps install pipelines and is in charge of emergency response.

He admitted it was tough to concentrate on classroom work with a lot on his mind this week.

"I've been thinking about lacrosse a lot and what we need to do to win this one," Moleski said. "It's going well but there is a big game weighing on my mind."

When new head coach Troy Cordingley was hired, he and assistant Terry Sanderson brought in a new defensive system for the Roughnecks.

Being that Moleski was forced to miss a few games and wasn't at practice much, he felt it took time to adapt.

Over the past month, the 6-ft.-1, 205-pounder has become one of the most consistent performers. In Denver, Moleski was great running the ball up, plus broke up an important two-on-one.

Cordingley said Moleski is one of the more underrated players in the league.

"He is one strong guy. When he hits players, he is so strong I can feel it on the bench," Cordingley said.

And this year, Moleski's wife isn't due with the couple's second child until July. The playoffs will be long done by then.


Videos

Photos