January 8, 2012

Calgary Beats Toronto in NLL Season Opener

from staff reports

The Calgary Roughnecks erased two five-goal deficits and beat the defending National Lacrosse League champion Toronto Rock, 12-9, in the league's season opening game Sunday at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

Dane Dobbie had three goals and three assists to lead the Roughnecks, who trailed in the game, 5-0 and 6-1. Scott Ranger and Shawn Evans each added two goals and one assist.

Garrett Billings got things started for the Rock just 2:24 into the opening quarter and Matt Roik stopped all nine Calgary shots he faced, holding the Roughnecks scoreless through 15 minutes.

Calgary outscored Toronto 3-1 in the second quarter as they chipped away at the Rock's early lead. Mike Carnegie scored shorthanded with just over two minutes remaining in the opening half to draw Calgary to within three trailing 6-3 at the half.

The visitors would take their first lead when Evans scored his second of the game to put the Roughnecks ahead 7-6. Toronto answered back with a pair including a goal by Phil Sanderson, his first since 2009 when he was a Buffalo Bandit, giving Toronto an 8-7 lead. Last year's rookie sensation Curtis Dickson scored his first of the season to once again tie the game, 8-8 after three quarters.

Ranger scored a pair of goals to kick-start the Calgary offense in the fourth quarter and stake them to a 10-8 lead. Dan Carey made it a one goal game, but Calgary answered back with two more goals, including an empty net goal that was awarded after Toronto took a penalty on a Calgary scoring chance on the empty cage, making the final 12-9 Roughnecks.

2011 NLL MVP Jeff Shattler had a goal and four assists for Calgary, while 2011 NLL Rookie of the Year Curtis Manning scored once with three assists.

Colin Doyle led Toronto with a goal and three assists.

Calgary goalie Mike Poulin made 30 saves in the win.

Prior to the game, the Rock raised their sixth NLL Championship banner to the rafters with NLL Hall of Famer Bob Watson assisting the process.

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