CALGARY, AB — The first ‘Battle of Alberta’ of 2015 lived up to its billing. At least in terms of intensity. The Calgary Roughnecks (0-3) played host to the Edmonton Rush (1-2) on Saturday night at the Roughhouse for the first installment of the West Division rivalry. But it wasn’t the result the ‘Necks were looking for, as the team lost 16-8 in front of 12,266 fans on Superhero Night at Scotiabank Saddledome.
The top players in the game for the Roughnecks were Shawn Evans (2+2), Jeff Shattler (2+2), Dane Dobbie (2+1) and Curtis Dickson (3+0).
Most of the points for the Rush came off the sticks of Mark Matthews (3+5), Zack Greer (2+4), Ben McIntosh (2+5) and Riley Loewen (3+2).
It was a defensive battle to start the game as both teams were feeling each other out. It wasn’t until the 6:48 mark when Shawn Evans hit twine for his eighth of the season beating Rush goaltender Aaron Bold stick side on the power-play. The Rush answered back just over two minutes later after top scorer Mark Matthews fired one past Mike Poulin to tie it at one a piece.
Curtis ‘Superman’ Dickson put Calgary back on top less than a minute later on the power-play but the Rush answered with two quick goals in the final minute to take the lead 3-2 after one. Shots on goal had the Roughnecks up 10-9.
Dickson got it started for the Riggers in the second when he flew across the crease to get his second of the game. However, it was all Edmonton from that point on scoring three goals 1:27 apart from Jarrett Davis, Mark Matthews and Robert Church. Edmonton wasn’t done there as they added two more goals 1:05 apart to take a commanding lead 8-3 with 7:14 left in the second. The ‘Necks finally woke up in the final two minutes of the quarter scoring three goals in 1:22 off the sticks of Curtis Dickson and two from Dane Dobbie. That’s where the second would end with the Rush up 8-6 but the Roughnecks leading in the shots department 26-22.
It was the Riley Loewen show in the third quarter as he potted three goals, the first coming just a minute and a half into the third with a bullet off the half-boards. Mark Matthews tallied his third of the game halfway through the quarter to put the Rush up 10-6. Loewen then streaked in from the point and received a nice pass from Jarrett Davis for the one-timer to record his second the quarter short-handed. Shawn Evans managed to pot one for the Riggers but Loewen completed the hat-trick 1:43 later to put the Rush up 12-7 after three quarters.
It was the same story in the fourth as Calgary was unable to generate much offence. Zack Greer got it started for Edmonton with his first of the game just over two and a half minutes into the quarter. Ben McIntosh then recorded his second of the game firing one into the wide-open cage to make it 14-7 in favor of the Rush. Roughnecks forward Dickson then completed his hat trick with just over eight-minutes remaining in the game. Greer then got his second of the quarter less than a minute after the Rigger goal to restore the seven goal lead. Tempers started to flare with under two minutes to play
when two fights broke out simultaneously between Shawn Evans and Chris Corbeil, while Dane Dobbie and Ryan Dilks also exchanged fists. However, that’s where the game would end with the Rush taking the first Battle of Alberta 16-8.
Three Stars of the Game as selected by the media:
1) Mark Matthews
2) Ben McIntosh
3) Jarrett Davis
Story by Kassidy Collins (@RoughnecksBeat) for NLL.com. Photo by Brad Watson.