Eight goals in the final quarter were not enough for the Roughnecks to comeback against the Stealth
No lead is safe in the National Lacrosse League.
The Calgary Roughnecks learned that early on in the season when the Colorado Mammoth came from behind late in the fourth quarter to force overtime and eventually pick up the win.
Well the Roughnecks were on the other side of the coin on Saturday night against the Washington Stealth, down six as the teams went into the final quarter.
The Roughnecks fired eight goals on the combination of Tyler Richards and Nick Patterson, but it wasn’t quite enough as the Stealth held on to a 16-14 win.
“It’s a situation that you’re going to be in,” said Roughnecks transition player Geoff Snider. “We are going to be in a situation where we will have to battle back whether it’s playoff or a regular season game.
“It spoke volumes about a) our coaching b) our system and c) just determination of this group and the characters we have in this locker room. It was a committed effort to come back at 13-13 and we got unlucky down the stretch.”
The Roughnecks loss drops them to 5-4 on the season, and into a tie with the Stealth for top spot in the West Division.
Discipline was a buzzword for the Roughnecks this week after allowing 13 powerplay goals over a two-game stretch.
However, Snider said the team cleaned up their act, only allowing eight penalty kill opportunities and two goals.
“I think we were disciplined for the first time in a while,” Snider opined. “Coach did a good job addressing that with our team and made that very clear and apparent that it was an issue with us."
Richards and Roughnecks goalie Mike Poulin shut down the opposing offenses in the first quarter, with only Daryl Veltman and Dane Dobbie scoring for the Roughnecks. Athan Iannucci replied for the Stealth.
Washington offense got streaky in the second quarter, scoring three goals in less than a minute early on in the frame. Roughnecks rookie Matthew Dinsdale ended the run with his first career goal, but the Stealth added three more in the quarter to take a 7-5 lead into half time.
The third quarter has been an issue for the Roughnecks this season. Last week against the Minnesota Swarm, they allowed eight goals in the quarter to tie up the game. On Saturday night, the Stealth held a 5-1 advantage courtesy of goals of Athan Iannucci (2g), Dean Hill, Cliff Smith and Lewis Ratcliff.
“The third quarter hurt us,” said head coach Curt Malawsky. “We were outscored 5-1 in the third quarter and outscored bad in Minnesota last weekend. We weren’t able to mask it over with some goals from Dickson this weekend against a team like that. It’s pretty tough.”
It set up a very exciting final frame where the Roughnecks were finally able to bust down the defensive wall of the Stealth.
Shawn Evans sniped one early, and it was followed by a play that would only occur in the NLL.
Richards earned a five-minute high-sticking major on Curtis Dickson as he ran down a loose-ball. According to the NLL rulebook, he had to serve his own major. Nick Patterson came in and fell victim of the Roughnecks shooting gallery.
Jeff Shattler sniped a hat-trick with Richards in the box, while Dane Dobbie and Curtis Dickson scoring goals of their own.
And five seconds after Richards got out of the box, Snider ran down and sniped his lone goal of the game to tie it up at 13 with under six minutes left.
“We just started moving the ball well," Snider said. "We scored some goals and able to generate some momentum.
“This game is about runs and we were able to manage that.”
Three straight goals though from the Stealth right after ended the Roughnecks hopes of a true comeback. Dickson completed his hat trick late.
“It shows a lot of heart, a lot of character but I don’t think we should have put ourselves in that hole,” Malawsky said. “I think there was some preparation issues and the guys in that room are going to sort that stuff out.
“To be down 12-6 and battle back to tie it up at 13 showed a lot of heart and character. Hopefully we can clean up our third quarters.”
Shattler led the Roughnecks with three goals and three assists, while Evans (3g,2a), Dobbie (2g,3a), Dickson (3g,1a), Veltman (1g,1a), Snider (1g,1a) and Dinsdale (1g) rounded out the scoring.
Rhys Duch (3g,7a), Athan Iannucci (4g,3a) and Lewis Ratcliff (1g,6a) dominated the scoresheet for the Stealth.
Poulin and Frankie Scigliano combined for 33 saves in the loss, while Richards and Patterson teamed up for 51 saves in the win.
The Roughnecks will be back on home floor on Saturday night against the Edmonton Rush as they induct Kaleb Toth into the Forever A Roughneck program.