May 15, 2009

Rigged: Calgary Reigns Again as NLL Champs

by Laurence Heinen | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

Calgary celebrates its second Champion's Cup title Friday after a 12-10 win at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

© Cory Shannon

CALGARY - For the second time in franchise history, the Calgary Roughnecks captured the Champion's Cup with a 12-10 win over the New York Titans at Pengrowth Saddledome on Saturday night.

Josh Sanderson scored twice and added three assists, while goalie Matt King stopped 32 of 42 shots he faced as the Roughnecks won the 2009 National Lacrosse League title in front of 13,042 hometown fans. The Riggers also won the Champion's Cup in 2004 at home with a 14-11 victory over the Buffalo Bandits.

For his efforts, Sanderson was named most valuable player of the Champion's Cup.

Sanderson said the award could have gone to any of his teammates.

"It was surprising, that's for sure," said Sanderson. "It's almost a team award, because you don't win an MVP unless you win. I guess I'll take it, but it could have been a lot of guys."

Kaleb Toth scored once and added five assists for the Roughnecks, while sophomore forward Dane Dobbie fired two goals and added two helpers, while forward Dane Dobbie fired two goals and added two helpers for the Roughnecks.

Sanderson also gave credit to veteran defenseman Bruce Codd, who hoisted the Champion's Cup first following a two-goal, one-assist performance.

"Brucie's been awesome all year," Sanderson said. "He's a guy who hadn't won it, so he left it all on the floor tonight."

With Calgary clinging to an 8-7 lead in the fourth quarter, Codd outraced both Ryan Boyle and Bill Greer for a loose ball before breaking in alone into the New York zone and firing his first goal of the 2009 playoffs past Titans goalie Matt Vinc.

"I just kept my stick out in front of me for as long as I could," said Codd, who was hit hard to the floor after scoring. "I don't even know where I really shot it. I just shot it hard and low, and that was it."

Also scoring for Calgary were captain Tracey Kelusky, Mike Carnegie, Curt Malawsky, Scott Ranger and Jeff Shattler.

"My hat goes off to the New York Titans, because they were the best team we played this year. But some credit has to finally go to this Calgary Roughnecks club, because we've been proving to people all year that we're the best," Kelusky said.

Casey Powell led New York's charge against Calgary with four goals and two assists.

"Coach gives me the green light to shoot a lot, which is nice," said Powell, who wasn't in the lineup when Calgary beat the Titans 12-10 during the regular season on Feb. 28 in New York. "I buried a couple, but I should have had a few more."

Calgary defenseman Andrew McBride dives for a loose ball Friday during the Roughnecks' 12-10 win over the Titans in the Champion's Cup final.

© Cory Shannon

With one minute to play in the game and the Roughnecks up 10-9, New York coach Ed Comeau called a timeout to set up a play and try to tie the contest.

"We knew it would be loud, so we kind of prepared for that," said Comeau, who admitted the loud cheering of the Calgary fans made it tough to communicate with his charges. "We kind of figured they were going to shut Casey off, which is what they did, so we had a secondary play. We thought we were going to get a good look out of it, but Calgary adjusted pretty good. Everyone in the building knows that we wanted Casey to take the shot, but there's little chance of them letting that happen."

Comeau congratulated the Rougnecks for a hard-fought victory and also commended his players on a great season.

"I'm really proud of my boys," he said. "We battled hard and didn't quit right until the end."

Brendan Mundorf had a strong game for New York with two goals and three assists, while Matt Alrich, Ryan Boyle, Pat Maddalena and Jordan Hall also scored.

"We stuck to our game plan, a couple lapses here and there," said Vinc, who finished the game with 38 saves. "Maybe a little more of their experience got them the win tonight."

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