The Calgary Roughnecks lost the first round of the Battle of Alberta, falling 15-8 to the Edmonton Rush on Friday night at Rexall Place.
However, it’s a loss that will have to be quickly forgotten since the Roughnecks take on the Vancouver Stealth on Saturday night down at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
“We just got out played, they wanted it more,” said veteran forward Scott Ranger, who scored a pair of goals in the setback. “We didn’t execute our gameplan. The coaching staff has a lot of experience and we have to execute it that way. We have to have a short memory and get ready for tomorrow night.”
The Roughnecks jumped out to an early lead, but never regained the advantage the rest of the game as the Rush stymied any offensive chances the Roughnecks created.
“I think they are a good defensive team but we played into their hand all night and we can’t do that,” said Ranger, who now has 400 points in his NLL career. “If we want to compete with teams in the league, we have to execute our gameplan and not let them dictate it. They are a great defence and not to take anything away from them but we have to be a lot better.”
The loss drops the Roughnecks below .500 to at 1-2 on the young season, while the Rush move to 3-0 for the first time in franchise history.
“We just have to put this one behind us and re-focus,” said goalie Frankie Scigliano, who came in for relief of starter Mike Poulin partway through the second quarter.
“We have a long bus ride ahead of us, and that will clear the head for tomorrow.”
Dane Dobbie opened the scoring for both teams, flying through the air after receiving a great pass from rookie Karsen Leung.
But the Rush responded with five-straight goals in the second quarter.
Ranger fired his first goal of the year to end the Rush run, but Edmonton came back with two more goals for an 8-2 lead.
Rookie Tor Reinholdt scored the final tally of the first half, the first of his NLL career, but his team was trailing 8-3 heading into the halftime.
The Rush came out with three quick goals to open up the third quarter, which was followed by four-straight markers by the Roughnecks. Goals came courtesy Dobbie, Geoff Snider, Jeff Shattler and Ranger.
Dobbie led the way for the Roughnecks, firing a hat trick and adding an assist while both Leung and Shawn Evans put up three assists each.
Mark Matthews, the 2013 NLL Rookie of the Year, led the Rush with four goals and three helpers, while Curtis Knight (4g, 1a) and Chris Corbeil (3g, 2a) both recorded five-point performances for Edmonton. Jarrett Davis (2g), John LaFontaine (1g) and Robert Church (1g) also scored in the win.
The Roughnecks struggled with special teams, allowing goals on four of 10 shorthanded opportunities, while being shutout on five power plays.
Poulin and Scigliano combined for 36 saves in the loss, while Aaron Bold turned away 38 shots in the Rush net.
The Roughnecks return to the ‘Dome on Saturday night when they take on the Vancouver Stealth. Game time is 7 p.m. with tickets still available.