May 1, 2010

Edmonton Tops Defending NLL Champ Calgary

from press release

CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Roughnecks had their hopes of advancing further in the National Lacrosse League playoffs spoiled by goaltender Matt Disher who stopped 60 of 67 shots he faced to lead the Edmonton Rush to an 11-7 victory.

Forward Ryan Ward also had a strong outing for Edmonton with a goal and eight assists, Dean Hill notched a hat trick and set up another, while Gavin Prout and Andy Secore each had two goals and three helpers. Corey Small chipped in with two goals for the Rush, Jim Quinlan also scored, while Ryan Powell picked up four assists.

Dane Dobbie led the Calgary scoring attack with a hat trick and a helper, Tracey Kelusky scored once and set up two others, while Josh Sanderson was held to just three assists.

The Roughnecks fought back from deficits of 3-0 and 7-3 to pull within a goal on two occasions, but that’s as close as they could get thanks to a solid performance in net by Disher.

Among the 10,388 fans in attendance were a large contingent of Edmonton supporters, who will now await the result of Saturday night’s game between the Washington Stealth and Minnesota Swarm to find out who the Rush will play next weekend.

Scott Ranger also had a goal and an assist for the Riggers, who finished the 2010 NLL campaign with an identical 10-6 record as Edmonton, but earned the home playoff date due to winning two of three games against the Rush in the regular season. Nolan Heavenor and Kaleb Toth also scored for Calgary, while Craig Conn chipped in with two assists.

Mike Poulin started in net for Calgary and stopped 23 of 33 shots he faced before being replaced in the fourth quarter in goal by Matt King, who made three saves in a relief appearance.

On an early penalty to Calgary’s Mike Carnegie for cross-checking, the Rush put on some sustained pressure during their power-play opportunity. Shortly after Ward hit the post with a heavy shot from far out, Prout scored the game’s opening goal when his low rising shot found its way past Poulin.

The Rush then built its lead up to 2-0 when Ward took a behind-the-back pass from Prout and snapped a shot past Poulin.

The visitors then went up by three on a strange goal. Initially, Poulin stopped a bounce shot fired by Hill, but the ball bounced around in the crease before eventually trickling across the line.

Despite outshooting the Rush by a 15-9 margin in the first quarter, the ’Necks trailed 3-0 on the scoreboard.

The Riggers continued to pressure Disher early in the second quarter resulting in goals by Dobbie and Ranger. Dobbie fought his way past Edmonton defenders Brett Mydske and Ian Hawksbee before flicking a one-handed shot past Disher, while Ranger parked himself by the side of the net before depositing a feed from Sanderson into the Edmonton goal.

Quinlan and Hill then responded with goals for the Rush to give Edmonton a 5-2 lead heading into halftime.

Dobbie notched his second of the contest early in the third quarter when he picked the top corner over Disher’s right shoulder.

After Small and Prout scored for Edmonton, Kelusky took a behind-the-back pass from Sanderson and wired a shot past Disher. After three quarters Calgary trailed 7-4 but still led 47-27 on the shot clock.

Just 12 seconds into the fourth quarter, Heavenor took a pass from Curtis Manning and scored before Dobbie completed his hat trick 46 seconds later when he bounced a shot past Disher to cut the deficit to just one goal.

Secore put the Rush back up by two with a power-play goal at the three-minute mark of the final frame before Toth converted a nice feed from Craig Conn to give the Riggers hope.

Once again, Secore responded for the Rush before Hill counted his second of the game to give Edmonton a 10-7 lead. That prompted Calgary coach Dave Pym to replace Poulin in goal with King.

Small then rounded out the scoring for Edmonton with a goal at 14:19 of the final frame.

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