CALGARY, AB — Brett Hickey scored the game-winning goal with 1:06 left in the fourth quarter to lead the Toronto Rock to a 12-10 win over the Calgary Roughnecks on Thursday.
Hickey finished the game with three goals and five assists for the Rock (11-3), which also beat Calgary 12-11 in Toronto on Jan. 31.
“We didn’t get out on the one by (Hickey) and they get one in transition and their goalie (Nick Rose) makes some good saves late in the game,” said Calgary coach Curt Malawsky, who was proud of his team’s effort against the top team in the National Lacrosse League. “We battled right to the very end and it just didn’t go our way. There was a lot of mistakes that happened both ways on the floor, but our guys compete level was great again.
“I’m just very frustrated because at the key point of the game, we just couldn’t quite put one in there. Velts (Daryl Veltman) hits a post short-handed and that would have put us up by two. That was a big moment.”
Dane Dobbie followed up a six-goal effort last week with four more goals on Saturday in front of 12,330 rambunctious fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome on hand for Redneck Night. Dobbie also had a pair of assists to give him 13 points in his past two games for the Roughnecks (3-9).
Jeff Shattler had two goals, including a shot that bounced off Rose’s left pad and into the top corner to give the Riggers a 10-9 lead at 8:01 of the fourth quarter.
“We were up by one and we were all pumped up,” said Shattler, who also had an assist in the contest. “We said, ‘Alright we’ve got five minutes left. Let’s battle to get the next one and we can shut the door on these guys.’ They had some good shooters out there and they buried the ball when they needed to.
“It’s unfortunate. We battled all game and then in the last three minutes, somehow, someway we just let down. We’ve been in a lot of games this year. Our record obviously doesn’t show how good of a team we are, but we’re a big threat in the league and we still are.”
Shawn Evans scored once and set up five others for the Riggers, while Curtis Dickson (1g, 4a), Karsen Leung (1g, 1a) and Sean Pollock (1g) also scored. Goalie Frankie Scigliano played well in net for Calgary as he finished with 42 saves.
“It’s frustrating,” said Calgary captain Andrew McBride following the disappointing setback. “I thought we battled hard all game. It was a competitive game. Frankie stood in and everyone played well. We need to be able to battle through that and play with confidence. For whatever the reason is, we’re not finishing games. In the position we’re in, there’s no excuse not to finish that game.”
Former Roughneck Josh Sanderson had two goals and four assists for the Rock, while Kasey Beirnes also scored twice and set up two others. Brock Sorensen, Sandy Chapman, Stephan Leblanc, Brodie Merrill and Kevin Ross also scored for Toronto, while Rose made 41 saves to record the win.
Shortly after Dobbie rang a shot off the post behind Rose, Shattler converted a fed from Evans for a quick-stick goal 42 seconds into the first quarter.
It was the fastest goal to start a game this season for the Roughnecks. The previous fastest goal was scored by Mike Carnegie at 1:35 of the first quarter on Jan. 3 during Calgary’s opening game of the season, an 18-14 road setback to the Vancouver Stealth.
Leung then scored in transition at 4:08 of the first to put the Riggers up 2-0. Leung cut hard to the middle off the floor to cut off a check from Beirnes before flicking a shot past Rose while falling to the turf.
Evans, who also had three short-handed goals last week during Calgary’s 20-9 win at home over the New England Black Wolves, then scored on a breakaway at 11:46 of the opening quarter while the ’Necks were playing a man down.
Beirnes replied with a power-play goal for the Rock 24 seconds later before Hickey scored at the two-minute mark of the second to pull Toronto within a goal.
After Beirnes converted a feed from Sanderson, Dobbie took a behind-the-back pass from Shattler in stride and whipped a shot past Rose to put Calgary up 4-3.
The Rock responded with two quick goals by Chapman and Hickey before Dobbie scored his second of the game with 44.7 seconds left in the first half to even the score at 5-5.
Just 61 seconds into the third quarter, Pollock picked up a rebound in front of the Toronto net and quickly deposited it into the net behind Rose.
After Sanderson counted back-to-back goals, Leblanc scored to give the Rock an 8-6 lead. Before the end of the third quarter, Dickson and Dobbie sandwiched a pair of power-play markers around a goal for Toronto by Ross.
Dobbie opened the fourth quarter with yet another power-play goal at the 26-second mark before Shattler scored to put the ’Necks up 10-9.
Unfortunately for the Riggers, the Rock rallied with goals by Sorensen, Hickey and Merrill, into an empty net, to give the visitors the win.
Next up, the Riggers will hit the road to face the Colorado Mammoth in Denver next Friday before both teams make their way back to Calgary for a rematch at the ’Dome the following night.
“We’ve got to come out and win two games and we’re right back in the hunt,” McBride said. “Nobody’s hanging their heads. Nobody’s feeling sorry for themselves, nobody around the league cares. The guys in this locker room care and that’s the most important part.”