It’s safe to say the Roughnecks have the Saskatchewan Rush’s number this season.
Curtis Dickson, Jesse King and Tyler Pace scored two goals apiece as the Riggers beat the Rush 8-6 in Saskatoon on Saturday night to complete the season sweep over their West Division Rivals.
The ’Necks also beat the Rush 11-10 on Dec. 11 in Saskatoon and 14-12 in the friendly confines of the Scotiabank Saddledome on St. Patrick’s Day.
Goaltender Christian Del Bianco was outstanding in between the pipes as he made 48 saves to pick up the win.
After falling behind 2-0 early in the first quarter, the Riggers rallied to tie things up after back-to-back goals by Dan Taylor and Tyler Pace.
Pace was set up for his goal thanks to a nifty behind-the-back pass from Curtis Dickson, who recorded his 800th career NLL point on the play.
The Rush held a 3-2 lead after the opening frame and appeared to go up by two early in the second quarter, but the goal was waved off due to a crease violation.
Jesse King then converted a feed from Curtis Dickson with 4:49 remaining in the first half to knot up the score at 3-3.
Curtis Dickson notched two straight markers in the third quarter, the second of which was a highlight-reel goal as Superman flew through the air from behind the net to dunk a shot past Rush goalie Eric Penney.
Haiden Dickson and King then got in on the action as they found the back of the net. The ’Necks outscored the Rush 4-0 in that third quarter to jump out to a 7-3 lead.
Pace went airborne to score early in the final frame to give Calgary a five-goal lead before the Rush mounted a comeback with three straight goals, but the home side wasn’t able to get any more past Del Bianco.
The Riggers scored five goals on 11 power plays, while the Rush went 3-for-7 with the man advantage.
“That’s a really, really good Saskatchewan team. Take the records out of it, that’s two teams that are battling for their playoff lives. The game, it was a man’s game. It’s a tough game. Not one team would bend and the other team wouldn’t bend. We just went back punch-for-punch. It was a good lacrosse game.”
“I say time and time again that I don’t worry about Christian Del Bianco. I don’t worry about him. He’s the ultimate professional. He’s the ultimate competitor. The bigger the moment, the better he is. He understood what was on the line today and he stepped up and played one whale of a game. I’ve seen some good goaltending performances. That might have been one of the best – right up top with some of the best I’ve ever seen.”
“Jesse scored some big goals for us on the power play. Jesse’s been a good facilitator. We challenged him to start putting the ball in the net. The goals were at a premium. It was tough to get them. He hit his shots when he needed to hit his shots. Jesse logs some tough minutes. All our offensive guys were getting hit. They were trying to hurt you going though the middle of the floor and trying to intimidate. Our guys never wavered and they went to the middle and Jesse was a big part of it. Our guys had something to play for and they stepped up and played for it.”
BY THE NUMBERS:
C. Dickson 2g, 4a
King 2g, 3a
Pace 2g, 2a
H. Dickson 1g, 1a
Del Bianco 48 saves
Currier 12 loose balls, 8-for-16 on faceoffs
“There’s a lot of history there. We’re pretty familiar with them and they’re pretty familiar with us. We’ve got some guys that have a little bit of bad blood against each other. Tonight, we had a game plan going in there for them. We’re familiar with them and what they like to do. We just stuck to it. The guys on the defensive end, they grinded so hard tonight. Christian Del Bianco had 48 saves which is remarkable.” – Jesse King
“A power play’s kind of a unique situation with five guys on the floor. At the end of the day it really comes down to just hitting your shots. Having that extra guy on the floor, you’re going to get open looks, so it’s a matter of if you can hit those shots. Tonight was one of those nights where we were able to take advantage of those opportunities and keep the ball hot so we could keep their guys on their toes and just put the ball in the back of the net when you get that opportunity.” – King
The Roughnecks will return home to play the first of three straight games at the Scotiabank Saddledome next Friday, April 1 when it’ll be no joke when they take on the Vancouver Warriors starting at 7 p.m.