EVERETT, WA -- In the days leading up to their game against the Washington Stealth, the Calgary Roughnecks players said their playoff mentality started now.
They needed focused, complete lacrosse games as they prepare for the final stretch of games leading into the post-season.
That’s exactly what they got on Saturday night with a 13-11 win to move into first place in the West Division.
“We have to take the positives out of it,” said sniper Curtis Dickson, who contributed four goals in the win. “It was a playoff style game – that’s the mentality we have right now.
“It’s key that we win these one-goal games. And we have been doing so well with them this year.”
Over the course of the sixty minutes, neither team was able to secure more than a two-goal lead, and it was back-and-forth all night.
Down heading into the fourth quarter, seven goals by the Roughnecks in the final 15 minutes turned out to be just enough, with defender Greg Harnett scoring the game-winner with less than three minutes remaining.
“We don’t want to keep putting ourselves in this position,” said assistant coach Bob McMahon. “You always want to play from ahead because one time you’re going to run into one team that you just can’t come back from.”
The Roughnecks move to 8-5 on the season, which is tied with the Edmonton Rush. Calgary owns the tie-breaker with the 2-1 record against the Rush this year.
Dean Hill opened the scoring for the Stealth less than two minutes into the game, but the back-and-forth nature of the game kicked in shortly after. The two teams swapped goals for the first quarter and it was a 3-3 tie after one.
Calgary was almost shutout for the second quarter, however a late goal from Shawn Evans ensured the Roughnecks were only down one heading into halftime.
Again, both teams scored twice in the third quarter to set up an exciting final frame.
Calgary earned their first lead since the first quarter with back-to-back goals from Dickson and Dane Dobbie, but it was short lived with three straight markers by the Stealth getting their lead back.
That’s when everything switched in Calgary’s favour.
Stealth goalie Tyler Richards was given five-minute major for high-sticking, and due to the rules, he had to serve his own penalty.
Dickson scored on the first shot on backup goalie Matt Roik, and it was followed up with a pair from Dobbie and the eventual game-winner from Greg Harnett before Richards made it back to the floor.
A powerplay marker from Hill brought the Stealth to within one late, but Poulin wasn’t going to let another one through.
With less than 15 seconds left, the Stealth came down on a great transition opportunity but Poulin made a nice pad save, and the Roughnecks secured the loose ball. Jeff Shattler added an empty-netter with two seconds left.
“Mike Poulin was outstanding again for us,” McMahon said. “He kept us in it and gave us chances to comeback in the second half.”
Poulin made 39 saves in the victory, while the combination of Richards and Roik turned away 33 shots.
The teams won’t get much of a break from each other, with the rematch occurring next Saturday at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Game time is 7 p.m.