CALGARY — It was a rough second half at the Rough House for the Calgary Roughnecks.
After scoring the only two goals of the third quarter, the visiting Saskatchewan Rush found the back of the net six more times in the final frame en route to a 15-11 win in front of 13,558 fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.
“They’re motto is rock, chisel, hammer and they just chip away, chip away,” said Calgary coach Curt Malawsky after the contest. “We made some mistakes at key moments.
“They capitalize on every mistake that you make. I thought tonight we overran some loose balls. It wasn’t for our lack of effort, but when we did make mistakes they seemed, for more part than not, (that) they ended up in the back of our net.”
Ben McIntosh had a hat trick and three assists for the Rush, who pulled even with the ’Necks atop the NLL’s West Division standings at 3-2.
“The ball wasn’t dropping for us and they kind of ramped it up,” said Roughnecks forward Wesley Berg, who had a goal and six assists in a losing cause. “That was the story of the game and in that second half we’ve got to be better.”
Curtis Dickson had a hat trick and four helpers for the Riggers, Dane Dobbie also scored three times and set up two others, while Tyler Digby also tallied twice.
Jeff Shattler had a goal and two assists, rookie Holden Cattoni also scored, while goalie Frank Scigliano finished with 43 saves.
Mark Matthews had four goals and one assist for the Rush, Adam Jones scored twice and set up two others, while Robert Church chipped in with a goal and five helpers.
Matthew Dinsdale, Adrian Sorichetti, Jeremy Thompson, Nik Bilic and Matt Hossack also scored, while Aaron Bold stopped 46 of 57 shots he faced in the Edmonton net.
“We had 57 shots on net, which we never have against Saskatchewan,” pointed out Malawsky. “We threw 74 at the net. We had a mandate to get lots of shots and we did.
“We just couldn’t quite get over the hump. That’s what the season is for. It’s a learning process and we’ll take the positives and rebuild on the negatives.
Digby opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 1:28 of the first quarter before Thompson and Matthews responded to put the Rush up 2-1.
The Riggers then reeled off three goals in 42 seconds – by Dobbie, Cattoni and Digby – to take a 4-2 lead.
Saskatchewan answered back with four straight goals before Dickson took a breakaway pass from Tyson Bell and snapped a quick shot past Bold to pull the ’Necks within a goal at 13:38 of the opening quarter.
With Thompson in the box serving a major penalty for illegal cross checking, Dobbie and Dickson scored power-play goals early in the second.
Just 11 seconds after Dickson’s second goal of the game, Sorichetti found the back of the net behind Scigliano to tie things up at 7-7.
The Riggers then regained the upper hand after Shattler took a pass from Berg and whipped a shot past Bold at 9:32 of the second.
The see-saw battle continued as Hossack and Matthews counted the only two goals of the third quarter to put the Rush back up 9-8.
Jones converted a feed from Matthews 63 seconds into the fourth quarter to give the Rush a two-goal cushion that didn’t last long. Berg scored 66 seconds later and then set up Dickson’s hat-trick goal at 3:36 to pull the ’Necks into a 10-10 tie.
“It feels good to contribute and produce offensively, but we still didn’t win the game and that’s what counts,” said Berg.
The Rush went on to score five of the final six goals of the game, including the game winner by Church at 6:43.
The Roughnecks will play the third of four straight home games on Sunday, Feb. 12 (2 p.m.) against the Toronto Rock.