CALGARY, AB — An unlikely hero stepped up for the Calgary Roughnecks late in the fourth quarter on Superhero Night at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.
Defenceman Greg Harnett scored the game-winning goal at 12:04 of the fourth quarter as the Roughnecks (3-3) rallied from a 9-3 deficit to beat the Georgia Swarm 12-11 in front of 9,531 screaming fans at the ’Dome.
“I think I just kind of get lucky late in games,” said Harnett, who also scored the game winner a week earlier when the ’Necks downed the Vancouver Stealth 15-13 at the ’Dome. “I just shoot it on net and it’s going in for me.”
Forward Curtis Dickson had a quick answer when asked which superhero Harnett resembled when he snapped a low shot past Georgia goalie Brodie MacDonald late in the game.
“After that I think he might have been ‘The Flash’ there on that breakaway,” said Dickson. “He was looking pretty quick there. I didn’t know he could run that fast.”
Once again, Dickson lived up to his ‘Superman’ nickname as he fired four goals and added a pair of assists in a first-star performance.
“With the nickname ‘Superman’ I think I’ve got a bit of pressure to show up and play well,” said Dickson, who commended the fans in attendance for cheering the Riggers on to the come-from-behind victory. “This crowd always gives us motivation. You always want to win for them. They’re fantastic. They come out and support us no matter what week after week.”
Tyler Digby scored five goals for the ’Necks, while Dan MacRae had a goal and two assists. Dane Dobbie scored once and set up another, while Jeff Shattler chipped in with five helpers.
“I’ve been here for quite some time now,” said Calgary coach Curt Malawsky. “It’ll be up there with one of the most emotional victories or games that I’ve been a part of in my lacrosse career. You stand on the back of the bench and you just get emotional for the guys.”
In a relief appearance, goalie Mike Poulin stopped 24 of 28 shots he faced to record the 50th win of his National Lacrosse League career.
“At the end of the game after that last save I grabbed the rebound and I hung onto that one, so I’ll keep that ball,” said Poulin, who turned aside a great scoring chance by Georgia forward Kiel Matisz late in the game before also stopping a shot by rookie Lyle Thompson at the buzzer to preserve the victory.
Frankie Scigliano started the game in net for the ’Necks and turned aside 20 of the 27 shots he faced before giving way to Poulin in the second quarter.
Shayne Jackson had a hat trick and a helper for the Swarm, while rookie forward Randy Staats scored twice and set up four others. Johnny Powless had two goals and an assist, while Jesse King, Ethan O’Connor, Chad Tutton, Mitch Belisle and Matisz also scored.
Georgia goalie Brodie MacDonald finished the game with 40 saves.
Dickson snapped a sidearm shot past MacDonald just 24 seconds into the game to give the Riggers an early 1-0 lead.
The Swarm responded with three straight goals by Staats, Powless and Jackson before Digby scored a power-play goal at 8:35 of the first quarter to pull the ’Necks back within a goal.
Georgia built up a 7-2 lead by the 7:17 mark of the second quarter as Jackson scored twice more to complete his hat trick, while Tutton and Belisle added singles.
Digby then counted his second of the game at 12:48 of the second before King replied for Georgia 54 seconds later to put the Swarm up 8-3 heading into the halftime intermission.
Noble opened the scoring for Georgia in the third quarter before Dickson, Dobbie and Digby reeled off three goals in 64 seconds to pull the Riggers within three.
Powless then put the Swarm up 10-6 at 8:55 of the third before Dickson notched his hat-trick goal 44 seconds later.
Sensing that the momentum was on their side, the Riggers kept pressing and were rewarded when MacRae bounced a shot through MacDonald’s legs at 12:42 of the third. Just 52 seconds later, Digby took a pass from Jon Harnett in transition and snapped a perfect shot into the top corner over MacDonald’s left shoulder for his fourth goal of the game to pull Calgary within a goal.
Dickson then scored his fourth goal of the game 61 seconds into the fourth quarter before Staats replied with his second of the game to put Georgia up 11-10.
Digby took a pass from Shattler and fired a long-range shot past MacDonald at 11:12 of the final quarter to set the stage for Harnett’s game-winning heroics 52 seconds later.
The Roughnecks will wrap up their two-game homestand next Saturday when they host the Colorado Mammoth at the ’Dome.
“Now we get to bring some momentum into next week, that’s huge,” said Harnett.