CALGARY, AB — Tyler Burton literally helped the Calgary Roughnecks jump out to a three-goal lead over the Colorado Mammoth late in the third quarter.
Burton leapt in the air in front of Colorado goalie Alex Buque and snapped a shot into the Mammoth net to give Calgary a 10-7 lead.
“I just saw an open lane,” said Burton, who won 15 of 26 faceoffs he took in addition to scooping up 11 loose balls and causing three turnovers. “I knew it was on my wrong side, so I wasn’t going to do a full dive, so I just jumped straight up. He moved over and I just saw an opening on the short side so I tried to throw it back there and luckily it went in.
“If that didn’t go in, I probably would have thrown my sticks out because I had too many chances before that I missed.”
The Roughnecks (5-7) added three more goals in the fourth quarter en route to a 13-9 win over the Mammoth (8-3), which still sits atop the NLL’s West Division.
Burton’s goal stood up as the game winner and the defenceman drew praise from Calgary coach Curt Malawsky, who’s been extremely pleased with Burton’s play since the Riggers signed him on Feb. 19.
“The guys in the room are loving him right now,” said Malawsky. “He’s a great teammate. When we went to bring him in, we did our research on him. We knew he was a character guy and he’d fit into our room.”
Curtis Dickson led the Riggers with a hat trick and five helpers, while Jeff Shattler also had three goals to go with two assists. Wesley Berg scored twice and added two assists, while Tyler Digby (1g, 4a), Dane Dobbie (1g, 2a), Karsen Leung (1g, 1a) and Curtis Manning (1g, 1a) also got in on the action.
The Calgary defence also had a great game as it held Mammoth sniper Adam Jones without a goal for the first time since 2013. Jones set an NLL record two weeks ago by scoring in his 56th straight game during a 14-13 win in Denver against the New England Black Wolves.
“He’d still get his good looks,” said Malawsky, while crediting goalie Mike Poulin with making several nice saves to stop Jones, who finished with 11 shots on goal. “We were able to deter some of his lanes. He likes to shoot from certain spots on the floor, so we were able to get in those spots and deter him from getting that easy shot.
“When he did get the good look, Poulin made the good save. It was a combination of everybody. You don’t hold a guy like Adam Jones down for long. We get the pleasure of playing them next Saturday night.”
Poulin, who made 48 saves to improve his record to 3-3, didn’t even know he ended Jones’ record-setting streak
“He’s a talented scorer,” said Poulin. “In those 56 straight games, he’s put a lot of those goals on me, so to hear that, that’s pretty cool.”
Callum Crawford had a hat trick and three assists for the Mammoth, while John Grant Jr. scored once and set up three others. Greg Downing, Chris Wardle, Jordan Gilles, Dan Coates and Eli McLaughlin also scored for Colorado.
Buque started in net for Colorado and stopped 37 of 47 shots he faced before being replaced by Dillon Ward, who made three saves in a relief appearance.
Next up, the Roughnecks head out for a pair of road games against the Georgia Swarm next Friday night and a rematch against the Mammoth in Denver the following evening.
After Gilles scored an early goal for the Mammoth, Berg replied with a short-handed marker at 3:21 of the first quarter when he bounced a shot in behind Buque.
Downing, Coates and Crawford then reeled off three straight goals for the Mammoth before Manning pulled the Riggers within two when he snapped a shot past Buque with just 14.4 seconds remaining in the opening frame.
The ’Necks started the second quarter with three straight goals as Dickson sandwiched his first and second of the game around another off the stick of Berg.
Dickson’s second of the night was a sidearm shot from the high slot, which was almost exactly the same goal that Grant scored at 13:02 of the second quarter during a Colorado power play to pull the Mammoth into a 5-5 tie.
The Riggers then outscored the Mammoth 5-2 in the third quarter as Dobbie, Digby, Leung, Shattler and Burton all found the back of the net.
“I thought we went on a run in the third quarter,” said Malawsky. “The big part was when we’d score, we were able to get the ball off the faceoff. That’s a testament to Tyler Burton. He battled hard in the trenches, got us the ball off the draw, scored a big goal, played some sound defence and he was a physical presence out there.”
Dickson and Shattler both completed their hat tricks in the fourth quarter, while the ’Necks limited the Mammoth to just a pair of goals by Crawford and Wardle.
“That’s a testament to our defence,” said Burton of keeping Colorado to less than 10 goals for just the third time this season. “Our defence is so strong and we’re aggressive and we can run the floor too. And Poulie in net was unbelievable, especially if our defence lapses a bit, Poulie saves us.”
In turn, Poulin thanked the defence in front of him for making his job easier.
“Wow, the amount of shots that our guys are taking for me, making my job easier, holding guys to the outside and staying out of blind spots so I can see the ball, I can’t say thanks enough,” said Poulin. “These guys have been fantastic.”