The Calgary Roughnecks can run, if you want to. But they’d rather make it more difficult for you to run. And that’s what they did last Saturday night, getting in the final punch in a defensive battle against the Edmonton Rush in a 9-8 victory. It was their fourth straight win, but it was much more than that. Beyond the tone on defense, it was proof to themselves that they’ve learned from the past. They withstood some fourth-quarter heat, heat that had earlier in the season melted them when they were outscored 8-5 in the fourth quarter and OT in losing their first 2 games of the season. “You win those one-goal games ‘cause you learned from those mistakes you made earlier in the year,” Calgary coach Curt Malawsky told The Calgary Herald. “For this group to battle a one-goal game right down to the wire was big.”
Saturday, the Roughnecks outscored the Rush 4-3 in the fourth quarter. Even better was holding the Rush to 18% shooting (3-for-16) and 0-for-1 on the power play in the final quarter. For the game, the Roughnecks held the Rush to 15% shooting (8-for-53) and 2-for-7 on the power play. It was a clear indication that, after allowing 10 first-half goals to the Rush 2 weekends ago, that the Riggers answered the bell defensively for the rematch.
It all added up to their first home win of the season.
“It’s fantastic, it’s really great to reward these fans,” goalie Mike Poulin, who made 45 saves, told The Herald. “Ten thousand strong tonight and they’ve been so loud and as a goalie you can really hear it. It felt great winning this one for them.”
The defense is about to face a massive test as the Roughnecks play in Toronto this weekend, the first of 3 straight road games before they return home on March 2 to play the Rush for a third time this season.
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Aaron Lommers, who has done a fine job as the Washington Stealth beat writer the Everett Herald, made a case for the Stealth making a return to the top of the NLL. “… the Stealth’s young defense has been protecting (goalie Tyler Richards) these past few weeks. They are physical with the opponent and they it has shown the ability to shut down stars.” (Everett Herald) … The Buffalo Bandits know they didn’t play well in Saturday’s loss to Rochester, but play-by-play man John Gurtler talked with transition man David Brock afterward, who did manage to fin a positive. “If we play Bandit ball and play lacrosse the way Darris (Kilgour) is teaching us how to play lacrosse, we can go in there and win,” he said of Saturday’s rematch with their biggest rival. (Bandits.com) … The Minnesota Swarm are hoping their OT win over Toronto is the start of something special. “It was awesome to beat Toronto that way, but to be honest with you it didn’t matter who we beat. The highs and lows were unbelievable. How we kept our composure, both physically and mentally, and found a way to win really shows the character of the guys on this team. It was just a huge win for us,” assistant coach Aime Caines said. (MNSwarm.com).Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to RochesterSports.com.
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