TORONTO, ON — Curtis Dickson only needed two words to describe the feeling after his Calgary Roughnecks downed the Toronto Rock 15-10 at the Air Canada Centre on Friday.
“About time,” said Dickson after recording a sock trick (six goals) and an assist to lead the way offensively for the Riggers.
The win snapped a four-game losing skid for the Roughnecks (4-7), who moved past the Vancouver Stealth (3-6) and into third spot in the National Lacrosse League’s West Division.
“It was nice to get a lead there obviously going into the second half and being able to hold onto it,” said Dickson, while lamenting the fact that the ’Necks jumped out to leads in each of their past three games only to lose all of them in overtime. “That’s something we need to do and haven’t been able to do in the past few weeks. It’s good for our confidence, especially heading forward into the homestretch of the season.”
The Riggers were also bolstered by the return to action of forward Dane Dobbie, who missed the past four games with an upper-body injury. Dobbie made an immediate impact against the Rock (2-7) with two goals and three assists.
“We really missed Dane Dobbie,” said Calgary coach Curt Malawsky. “I thought tonight he makes a big difference out there, not only on the floor, but in the locker room. It was huge having him back. That really kick-started our offence.”
Karsen Leung finished with a hat trick, including two goals into an empty net, while rookie defenceman Tyson Bell had his first-ever NLL two-goal game.
“It was a hard-fought game,” said Leung. “It was a good 60 minutes and bounces finally went our way. It was nice to finally get a win.”
Goaltender Mike Poulin was solid in between the pipes for the ’Necks as he made 38 saves, while Frankie Scigliano stopped a pair of shots in spot duty.
Wesley Berg and Tyler Digby both had a goal and two assists each, while Jeff Shattler, Reilly O’Connor and Dan MacRae chipped in with four assists each.
“That was a great team win,” said Malawsky. “From the back end to the defensive guys to our goaltending to our faceoff team, I thought everybody pulled in the same direction. We said from the start of training camp that everything’s got to be done together. I think tonight that was the big message was do it together and I thought the guys did.”
Rob Hellyer led the Rock with three goals and four assists, while Brett Hickey also had a hat trick to go with a helper. Rock captain Colin Doyle scored once and set up three others, while Josh Sanderson, Kasey Beirnes and Rob Marshall also scored.
Rock goalie Nick Rose stopped 37 of 50 shots he faced in a losing cause.
Bell gave Calgary an early lead when he scored just 44 seconds into the game before Berg put the Riggers up 2-0 four minutes later.
After Hickey and Hellyer replied for the Rock, Dickson finished off a nice three-way passing play for his 30th goal of the season at 11:25 of the opening frame. Digby took a pass in the slot from Jeff Shattler before quickly dishing off to Dickson for the goal.
Just like they did in the first quarter, the ’Necks struck early in the second as Digby snapped a shot through Rose’s legs 29 seconds after the break.
Shortly after Leung tallied a shorthanded marker, Hickey scored a power-play goal for the Rock. Dickson then bounced a shot through his own legs and past Rose during a man advantage for the Riggers.
“I’m lucky enough it found a hole and Rosey went down and it got over his shoulder,” said Dickson, who scored a similar goal last month on the road against the Vancouver Stealth. “It’s one of those things where you just get the ball in traffic there and chuck it to the net and hopefully it goes in.”
Malawsky wasn’t surprised to see Dickson score the highlight-reel goal.
“We see that all the time in Calgary,” he said. “You put the ball on his stick and he makes something out of nothing. He’s a special, special player. I think it was our focus to try to utilize him a little bit more in this game and get him some looks.”
After Hickey completed his hat trick when he converted a nice pass from Colin Doyle for a quick-stick goal, Dickson replied with his third of the game to put the ’Necks up 7-4 when he skipped a shot off the turf and into the top corner behind Rose for Calgary’s second shorthanded goal of the second quarter.
Marshall scored at 1:38 of the third quarter to pull the Rock within two goals before Dobbie sandwiched a pair of goals around a shorthanded breakaway tally by Dickson, his fourth of the game.
Following goals by Sanderson and Beirnes, the Riggers took a 10-7 advantage into the final frame.
Dickson scored two more goals by the 3:31 mark of the fourth quarter to complete his sock trick before the Rock notched three of the next four goals – two by Hellyer and one by Doyle – to pull Toronto back within three goals.
That’s as close as the Rock would get as Leung put the game away with two straight empty-net goals.
Next up, the Roughnecks will host the West Division leading Colorado Mammoth (8-2) at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday, March 18.
“This is a must-win game for us,” said Dickson. “We’re catching ground in the West for the last playoff spot. It’s going to be a dogfight all the way down the stretch, so every win counts. We’ve got to come out ready to play like we did tonight next week.”