Oh What a Game, But Rush Fourth Quarter Comeback Not Enough for the “W” over Calgary 12/12/21

Photo Credit: Calgary Roughnecks

Marcelo A. Sagüez, Correspondent Calgary Roughnecks
Lacrosse is Awesome©

Featured Image Photo Credit JR Crawford

On Saturday December 11, 2021 it was the battle of the prairies. The Calgary Roughnecks (1-1) headed into the Sasktel Centre to take on their Western Division Rivals the Saskatchewan Rush (0-2) coming into the showdown 0-1. It’s been said, good offence begins with great defence and the Roughneck’s keeper Christian Del Bianco had a stellar performance between the pipes stopping 49 of 59 Rush scoring attempts.  Eight of the nights 21 goals took place in the first giving the home town fans an exciting return to the NLL season, but unfortunately their team could not come up with a last minute victory as the Roughnecks would notch the final goal with 1:55 on the ticker.  Final Score:  Calgary 11—Saskatchewan 10.

The Roughnecks got off to a tremendous start after the sick save from Del Bianco robbing the Rush’s first attempt to get on the scoreboard.  They would notch the first three coming on early with Tyler Pace (2g, 1a) scoring 35 seconds in; Tanner Cook (1g, 2a) second at 3:38; and Haiden Dickson (3g) scoring at 4:37.  The Rush halted the run five minutes later with former Roughneck Jeff Shattler (3g) scoring their first goal at the 9:33 mark on a quick shot with a defender on his back that did not allow Del Bianco to set up for the save.  He’d score again at 10:39 to get them to within two 3-2.  Shattler looks like he’s lost a step, but still very much a threat and should not be underestimated.  This is also his last season in the NLL as he has announced his retirement.  Robert Church (2g, 3a) would close out the run on a man-up goal at 11:35 tying it 3-3.  Zach Currier (1g) halted the Rush run less than 20 seconds later for to go ahead tally, but Dan Lintner (2g, 1a) would tie it back up with a little less than two in the frame at 12:13.  That would be it in the first.  Score at the end of one:  Roughnecks 4—Rush 4.

The teams would trade goals in the second with the Rush getting on the board first.  Church would notch his second at 3:29 only to see the lead erased about 90 seconds later when Pace got his second at 5:17.  The last two in the frame were man up goals.  Matthews would score his second at the 6:32 mark for the Rush to break the tie 6-5 in favor of Saskatchewan; but H. Dickson would tie it back up with a man up goal for the Riggers at the 9:53 mark tying it once again.   Calgary’s defence was a little shaky in the first half lacking the physicality and stinginess they are known for. Miscommunication and missed assignments allowed the Rush to keep the game tight.  The first half was a roller coaster of possessions, and in looking at the shot stats one would think that Saskatchewan should have been well ahead on the scoreboard, out shooting Calgary 2-1. Score at the end of two:  Roughnecks 6—Rush 6.

Photo Credit JR Crawford

Things continued to be back and forth on the scoreboard in the third with Calgary outscoring Saskatchewan 5-2 in the frame.   Shots were even in the frame at 13 apiece but the Riggers were finding a way to hit the twine while the Rush were “rushing” their shots and Del Bianco was a brick wall.  Calgary struck first at 46 seconds from Liam LeClair (1g); Curtis Manning (1g) at 5:26; H. Dickson with a man up goal at 11:26; and Jesse King (1g, 6a) at 12:15.  The Rush saw another from Matthews at 3:58; and Lintner scoring with three seconds on the ticker at 14:57.  Score at the end of three:  Roughnecks 10—Rush 8.

With one frame left there was still plenty of time on the clock.  The Rush would come out firing scoring the first two with Josh Currier (1g) getting on the board with his only point in the game at 3:33.  Another three ticked off before Shattler got his hat-trick to tie it at 10-10.  With over nine minutes on the clock, it was anyone’s game and it was coming down to clock management in the fourth for that one shot that would settle the game.   It took almost seven minutes of scoreless lacrosse with the Rush squad firing 19 shots at Del Bianco to the Roughnecks only firing nine on Shute.  Finally, at the 13:o5 mark, it would be the combination of Zach Herreweyers, Jesse King and Tanner Cook that would put the Riggers up for good.  Final Score:  Roughnecks 11—Rush 10.

Calgary moved the ball well spreading the ball around the offence, in comparison to last week’s loss to the Bandits, Roughneck’s looking much more of a cohesive unit.  Although Curtis Dickson didn’t score in the game, as a veteran in this league he attracts attention and with or without the ball he’s a threat. Moving from crease to shooter on the right side, keeping the defenders guessing on what he and the offence will do, while becoming a better feeder. (Could be because he has returned to his low pocket strung head)

“I think I just played it honest, there’s times where certain guys got a couple goals right and rather than guessing I just stuck to what makes me good and saw the ball and reacted. Some nights you do everything right and it goes great, some nights you do everything right and it goes bad and there’s other nights the opposite way around. So I think just doing everything that you can to stick to your game and not kind of go out of your bubble to try to make stuff happen.” – Christian Del Bianco

“You know late in that game they got it close, they tied it up and it was a battle but you know… for a moment there we kind of sat back and played on our heels and they were dictating and it was time for us to turn it around. We weren’t going to bed tonight whining about what happened and what we could have done, we stepped up and the boys stepped up in a big way, made a difference and clutched up at the end.” – Curt Malawsky

TEAM STATS:

Calgary Roughnecks—SOG 36; Saves 49; FO 16-25; PP 2-4
Saskatchewan Rush—SOG 59; Saves 25; FO 9-25; PP 3-6

NEXT UP:

The Calgary Roughnecks (1-1) will host the San Diego Seals (1-1) at Westjet Field at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday December 17, 2021.   Game time 8:00 p.m. EST.  The game can be seen on ESPN+ in the USA and on TSN.ca or the TSN app in Canada.

The Saskatchewan Rush (0-2) will head to Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC to face the red hot Vancouver Warriors (2-0) on Friday December 17, 2021.  Game time 10:30 p.m. EST.  This game can be seen on ESPN+ in the USA.  This is the TSN Game of the Week in Canada.  This is also an Alterna Cup game.

Marcelo A. Sagüez, Correspondent Calgary Roughnecks
Lacrosse is Awesome©

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