CALGARY, AB — It’s safe to say that Curtis Dickson loves playing against the Edmonton Rush.
Dickson scored his fourth goal of the game with 38.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter to lead the Calgary Roughnecks (4-2) to a hard-fought 9-8 win over the Rush (1-4) in front of 10,002 appreciative fans.
In 10 career regular season games against the Rush, Dickson has a pair of four-goal games in addition to five other hat-trick performances.
“We play these guys four times a year,” Dickson said. “It’s the Battle of Alberta. It’s a Western Conference opponent. All that wrapped into one makes it an easy game to get up for. I’ve had some offensive success against these guys my first couple years in the league. Hopefully I can keep it going.”
Jeff Shattler scored once and set up two others for the Roughnecks, who reeled off their fourth straight victory and second in a row over Edmonton. The Riggers also beat the Rush 18-15 a week earlier in Edmonton at Rexall Place.
After the narrow victory, Calgary coach Curt Malawsky praised his players for battling through adversity to emerge with the win.
“The word that comes to my mind is composure,” Malawsky said. “We got a lot of penalties called against us and we’ll have to go back and process the film. I can’t say if they were good ones or bad ones but we battled through. We’ve talked about the whole year where we bend but we didn’t break. A lot of resilience shown by the guys.”
Calgary goalie Mike Poulin stopped 45 of 53 shots he faced to record his fourth win in a row.
“The team’s hot,” Poulin said. “That was a big one for us. We needed to reward the home fans for the great support they’ve given us. We’re really excited about that win.”
Poulin admitted that he didn’t have one of his best warm-ups before the game, but that he felt fine after stopping a few early shots.
“Tonight the unit really stepped up as a whole,” he said “I was kind of relieved to get some action early and be able to pick up steam. I felt good personally out there. As a goalie, you can’t ask for a better D in front of you.”
Greg Harnett and Shawn Evans each had a goal and an assist for Calgary in the contest, Joe Resetarits and Mike Carnegie also scored, while Geoff Snider and Aaron Pascas chipped in with three assists each.
Jarrett Davis led the Rush attack with a hat trick, while Mark Matthews (2g, 2a), Ryan Ward (1g, 3a), Curtis Knight (1g, 1a) and Ryan Dilks (1g, 1a) also hit the scoresheet.
Edmonton goalie Aaron Bold made 44 saves in a losing cause.
The Roughnecks trailed 1-0 after the first period. It was the first time Calgary failed to score a goal in a quarter since Jan. 8, 2012 in Toronto when the Riggers trailed the Rock 5-0 after the opening frame. The ’Necks battled back in that game to win 9-6.
Davis scored the lone goal of the first quarter for the Rush and then added a power-play goal at the one-minute mark of the second to give the Rush a 2-0 lead.
It took the Riggers until the 6:52 mark of the second period until Curtis Dickson finally scored and what a goal it was. Dickson drove to the net and then went airborne before depositing the ball into the net over Bold’s left shoulder.
“Bold was playing well in that first half there,” Dickson said. “He was saving everything we were throwing on him, so it was nice to get inside on him there and get it past him. You don’t want to build his confidence too high.”
Greg Harnett then scored his first-ever NLL goal at 6:52 of the second quarter before Resetarits notched a short-handed goal to put Calgary up 3-2 heading into the halftime intermission.
Dilks set up a goal by Knight early in the third before scoring a short-handed marker to give Edmonton a 4-3 lead.
Mike Carnegie then scored an extremely rare empty-net, power-play goal after a botched attempt by the Rush to pull Bold from the net in favour of an extra attacker when they had control of the ball. Carnegie forced the turnover, scooped up the loose ball and fired it into the net before Bold could get back into position.
After Davis scored to complete his hat trick, Evans replied for Calgary to tie up the game at 5-5 before the end of the third quarter.
Dickson scored 18 seconds into the fourth quarter and then completed his hat trick five minutes later to give the Riggers their first two-goal lead of the game.
“Especially that second half, everything seemed to be dropping for me,” Dickson said. “Our offence struggled a bit in the first half, so it was nice to have some fall in for us.”
Edmonton then scored three of the next four goals – two of them by Matthews – to tie up the contest at 8-8, which set the stage for Dickson’s clutch game-winning goal.
“It was a little deflating for us there when they scored with a minute and a half (left),” Dickson said. “That’s happened a couple times on us this year. Teams have come back on us in the dying minutes of the game. It was nice to get one there and not have to take another one to overtime.”
Poulin wasn’t surprised to see Dickson have a dominant fourth quarter to lead the ’Necks to victory.
“We know what Curtis can bring to a game,” Poulin said. “At any given time, he can take it over. He showed it tonight.”
The Roughnecks will now play their next three games away from the friendly confines of the ’Dome starting next weekend with road games against the Toronto Rock on Friday and the Minnesota Swarm the next night.