Calgary held on to beat Rochester by the thickness of the crossbar last night, as a furious Knighthawks comeback fell just short in a 15-14 Roughnecks win in the National Lacrosse League. After trailing 11-4 shortly before the first half ended, Rochester clawed their way back into the contest and had the ball in the dying seconds. A cross-crease pass from Mike Accursi found Cory Vitarelli with much of the net open, but Vitarelli’s shot glanced off the top of the crossbar. The lefty forward had one last chance as the clock was about to expire, racing in to pick up the ball at the edge of the crease, diving and whipping the ball around behind his back in a spectacular effort, but the ball hit Riggers goalie Mike Poulin in the shoulder area. Poulin’s stick went flying behind the goal and his gloves flew up into the air as he dove to try to cover the ball, which he did with 1.2 seconds to go.
Shawn Evans led the way for Calgary with three goals and six assists while Dane Dobbie scored four times. Rookies Johnny Powless and Stephen Keogh each had hat tricks for Rochester, with Powless adding four assists and Keogh three. Shots were fairly even throughout the game until the Knighthawks peppered Poulin with 19 in the fourth quarter as they outscored Calgary 5-2 in the frame in their comeback bid.
The win pulled Calgary (11-3) a half game ahead of Colorado atop the West. Rochester (5-8) dropped a game and a half behind Toronto in the East and sit just a half game ahead of Buffalo, who can catch up to them with a win over the Wings tonight.
In Minnesota, the Swarm and Wings went back and forth all night, with neither team leading by more than one goal, until the Swarm scored the last four of the night to take a 13-9 win. Tyler Hass was the shooting star for Minny with four goals on four shots as well as an assist. Corbyn Tao (3g, 2a) and Kevin Ross (2g, 3a) each added five points for the Swarm (6-7), who pulled to two wins ahead of Edmonton and Washington in the race for third in the West.
Drew Westervelt scored a hat trick and Dan Dawson had a seven-point night (2g, 5a) for Philadelphia (7-6) who missed a chance to extend their lead on Toronto for first in the East. The Rock could actually take the division lead now if they can beat the Rush tonight and Philly loses to Buffalo.
Plus the links
The Maple Ridge Burrards are filling the gap between minor lacrosse and their senior team, introducing an Intermediate A club that will play its first home game April 27. Last year’s midget Burrards won the B.C. championship, so they’re hoping the grads from that team will make them competitive in intermediate right away. They also have their eyes on the next step, a Junior A franchise, but their application for this year was rejected. “We are going to apply every year until we get it,” says intermediate team president Dave Bailuk. “They’ve told us it could be a couple of years, but I’m hoping it will be sooner than that. We have the talent, and we have the support.” (mapleridgenews.com)…Casey and Mikey Powell are ready to hit the air as colour commentators for CBC Sports Network coverage of the NLL tonight in Buffalo. (syracuse.com)…Mike Poulin continues to develop a reputation as one of the best goalies in the NLL, and his coach and teammates cite his preparation and focus as major reasons why. “He’s not up or down, he’s very steady, very consistent. He makes big plays when he needs to make big plays and forgets about that big play and goes back to being Mike,” says Riggers tranny Geoff Snider. (calgaryherald.com)…The Armstrong Shamrocks are heading to the coast for an exhibition game. The Junior team from the Vernon area, in the British Columbia interior, will take on the Richmond Roadrunners April 14. “This is a really great opportunity for our team to see how we measure up to the quality of lacrosse played at the Lower Mainland,” said Shamrocks coach Pat Nelson. (vernonmorningstar.com)…Goalies take differing approaches to facing a penalty shot. One you don’t see often is running out and flattening the shooter. That was just the ticket for the keeper in this great short video of a 7th/8th grade AILA game. (yahoo.com)
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