January 29, 2011

Calgary Sweeps Battle of Alberta

by Bryce Forbes | NLL.com

CALGARY, Alberta -- The Calgary Roughnecks (4-2) won their second game in as many nights over their divisional and provincial rivals, a thrilling 12-11 overtime game against the Edmonton Rush (0-5) in front of 10,353 fans Saturday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

In a surprise, the game hero was forward Mark Scherman, who ended the game 2:30 into overtime after squeezing a shot past Matt Disher to give the Roughnecks the sweep in this weekend's edition of the Battle of Alberta.

"The team bought in and I just got lucky in the end," said Scherman. "I was in the right place."

It was only Scherman's second goal of the year and fourth of his career. The Calgarian didn't even make the Riggers' squad out of camp this year, only being added to the roster a few days before the season started. So far this campaign, he has spent two games watching from the press box.

"Alberta boy, Calgary kid and he get's the game winner," said Roughnecks head coach Dave Pym of his grinder. "It was fantastic for him and even better for the team."

Goalie Mike Poulin was part of the reason the Roughnecks were in position to take the game to overtime. Down one early in the forth quarter, the Riggers were on a two minute 5-on-3 penalty kill following a five-minute major to Dayne Michaud and a two-minute penalty to Daryl Veltman shortly after.

However, the Poulin Wall made a few acrobatic saves, allowing only one goal over the five minute major. Then, 19 seconds after killing off the Veltman penalty, Jeff Shattler brought the 'Necks within one.

It was a turnaround for Poulin after letting in a few soft goals earlier in the night, forcing Pym to put in backup Curtis Palidwor for a few seconds.

"He had a few tonight where I know he would have wanted them back," Pym said of Poulin. "At times, my gut was telling me to put Palidwor in there but I stuck with him and he delivered."

"I didn't have the best start, but the thing about this team is that when I came to the bench, I had every one of our guys coming over and keeping me on even keel," said Poulin, who ended his evening with 43 saves.

Both teams pointed to the five-minute penalty as the turning point in the game.

"It was a great momentum swing when we stopped them on one end and scored on the other for a couple of chances," said Poulin.

On the flip side, Rush head coach Derek Keenan was straight forward about his team's powerplay success.

"To be honest with you, it's killing us," said Keenan, whose team ended one for six with the extra attacker.

Roughneck rookie Curtis Dickson finished off his second straight hat-trick with just over four minutes left, tying the game at 11 and eventually sending the game to overtime.

And that's where Scherman did his thing.

"We are going to win games sometimes in an unconventional way," said Pym. "We are a rag tag group, so to speak, and we always come together in the end."

But for the Rush, it continues their slow start to the season, losing their fifth in a row.

"We have to win the one goal games in this league and we aren't doing it," said Keenan. "With the exception of our game against Toronto, we have been playing pretty well. It's the exact opposite of last year where we won games like tonight."

Ryan Ward led the way for the Rush with four goals and two assists, while Gavin Prout (2g, 3a) and Brodie Merrill (1g, 4a) chipped in as well. Matt Disher took the loss after turning away 31 shots.

The Roughnecks used a balanced attack with nine different players finding the back of the net. Dickson (3g, 1a) and Shattler (2g, 5a) were the only Riggers to score multiple goals. Cory Conway, Dane Dobbie and Kaleb Toth each scored one goal and added three assists.

Both teams have next weekend off with the Rush taking on the Washington Stealth on Feb. 11 and the Roughnecks taking on the Toronto Rock the following night.

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