ROCHESTER, NY — The Calgary Roughnecks rallied back from a 7-1 deficit to pull even with the Rochester Knighthawks on two occasions before eventually suffering a 12-11 setback.
Fresh off a seven-goal performance in a win over the Vancouver Stealth at home last week, Curtis Dickson scored four times for the Roughnecks (1-7), including three straight in the fourth quarter to pull Calgary into an 11-11 tie with Rochester.
Cody Jamieson then scored at 11:12 of the final frame and the Knighthawks (6-3) held on for the narrow victory in front of their hometown fans at the Blue Cross Arena.
“They’ve got a world-class player and former MVP and he scored a nice goal,” said Calgary coach Curt Malawsky, who noted that he was extremely proud of his team’s performance. “The guys battled, they competed. We had a tough start and we didn’t quit. We battled back and we tied it at 11 late. We had great chances. We hit some pipes. Last week, those went in. This week, they didn’t go in. That’s just the bounces that happen in the NLL.”
Shawn Evans, who notched a hat trick and five assists for Calgary, had a chance to tie up the game late in the fourth quarter but his low shot from the slot was stopped by Rochester goalie Matt Vinc, who finished the game with 46 saves.
“I need to get that up higher on him,” said Evans, while adding that the Riggers have nothing to be ashamed about for their hard-fought effort against the three-time defending National Lacrosse League champions. “We aren’t hanging our heads. We definitely don’t like to lose. We’re 1-7 now and have to bounce back with a better effort.”
Jamieson led the Rochester attack with a hat trick and four helpers, while Joe Walters and Cory Vitarelli had two goals and an assist each. Joel Matthews and Dan Dawson each had a goal and three assists, while Craig Point, Brad Self and Jordan Hall also scored for the K-Hawks.
Jeff Shattler also had a good game for the Riggers as he finished with two goals and five assists, while Daryl Veltman also scored twice to go with three helpers.
Frankie Scigliano stared in net for Calgary, but was relieved by Mike Poulin after allowing five goals on 11 shots in the first quarter. Poulin went on to make 23 saves in a relief appearance.
The Knighthawks jumped out to a 3-1 lead on goals by Walters, Vitarelli and Jamieson before Veltman got the Riggers on the board with a power-play goal at 9:13 of the opening frame.
After Matthews and Vitarelli scored to give the K-Hawks a 5-1 lead, Malawsky opted to replace Scigliano in net with Poulin.
The move didn’t pay immediate dividends as Hall added another goal for Rochester late in the first before Dawson scored 39 seconds into the second quarter to put the Knighthawks up 7-1.
Poulin then settled down and didn’t allow another goal for the rest of the first half, while the ’Necks reeled off four straight goals – two by Shattler and one each off the sticks of Veltman and Evans – to pull Calgary within a pair of goals.
Evans opened up the third quarter with a pair of goals in the first minute just 25 seconds apart to tie up the contest at 7-7.
Walters, Point and Self then reeled off three straight goals for Rochester, before Dickson converted a feed from Shattler with 25 seconds left in the third quarter.
Jamieson scored at 1:48 of the fourth to put the K-Hawks back up by three goals before Dickson scored a natural hat trick in a span of 99 seconds to pull the Riggers even once again.
Jamieson then counted the game-winning goal when he drove to the net and faked a pass before firing a shot into the net over Poulin’s left shoulder.
The Riggers will play their second straight road game on Sunday, March 8 in Edmonton against the Rush before they return home to the Scotiabank Saddledome for a rematch against the Knighthawks on Saturday, March 14.
“It’s going to turn around,” Malawsky predicted. “We’ve just got to keep believing in the process and sticking with it and staying the course. I think these guys are really doing that. Going forward, we’re only going to be better for it.”