The Roughnecks win Round One of the Battle of Alberta. Photo Credit: Brad Watson
Every time Curtis Dickson has suited up against the Edmonton Rush, the Calgary Roughnecks forward has notched a hat trick.
Dickson did it again on Saturday night as the Roughnecks (4-2) ran to a 12-8 win over the Rush (1-4) in front of 8,049 fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
“I found that out before the game,” said Dickson in regards to the unusual statistic. “It’s a pretty funny coincidence, but it’s tough not to get up for games against these guys. It’s the Battle of Alberta. I got to experience it last year four times. It’s just a great rivalry.”
Dickson, who added a pair of assists for a five-point performance, also had hat tricks in four wins for Calgary last season over Edmonton.
“He’s an incredible talent,” said Calgary coach Dave Pym. “He’s one of those guys that’s unstoppable one-on-one. You’ve got to double him or triple him at times. He’s got a nose for the net and he’s got a capacity to bury ’em. To see him do that on a consistent basis, we knew he was special when we drafted him (third overall in the 2010 NLL Entry Draft) and he’s delivering more than what we expected.”
Rookie transition player Travis Cornwall scored the first two goals of his National Lacrosse League career, both in the fourth quarter during which the Riggers outscored the Rush 6-2.
“I knew I could play offence at this level,” Cornwall said. “It’s nice to get out there and show what I can do.”
Jeff Shattler had two goals and three assists in the contest, while Darryl Veltman (2g, 2a), Shawn Evans (1g, 3a), Geoff Snider (1g, 2a) and Curtis Manning (1g) also contributed to the big win.
“It’s the first home win for us on the year,” said Dickson, who referred to the Calgary crowd as the best fans in the NLL. “You’ve got to give them a win to keep them coming back.”
Poulin made 40 saves in the Calgary net and chipped in with two assists for good measure. Poulin was happy to bounce back with a strong performance after he had a tough outing one weekend earlier when he was relieved in net by Frankie Scigliano, who backstopped the Riggers to a 12-11 road win over the Washington Stealth.
“I knew tonight was an opportunity for me to get back on track,” said Poulin, who gave credit to his defense for playing well in front of him. “Without a doubt, best game of the year for our defensive unit. They played sensational. You can’t ask for more help than that.”
Scott Evans led the Rush attack with a pair of goals and three assists, while Corey Small also had two goals to go with two helpers. Ryan Ward and Tom Johnson each had a goal and two assists, while Jarrett Toll and Zack Greer also scored.
Edmonton goalie Aaron Bold stopped 37 of 49 shots he faced in a losing cause.
Dickson opened the scoring at 4:36 of the first quarter when he took a pass from Shattler and bounced a shot past Bold.
Green then scored for Edmonton to tie up the contest before Small notched a late goal with 3.2 seconds left in the opening quarter to give the Rush a 2-1 lead.
Veltman tied things up again 1:48 into the second quarter before Manning finished off a two-on-one with teammate Peter McFetridge by snapping a low shot past Bold.
Snider and Dickson then scored goals 17 seconds apart to extend Calgary’s lead to 5-2.
Ward and Evans scored early in the third quarter for Edmonton before Veltman replied with his second of the contest to put Calgary back up by two goals.
Toll and Small tallied goals 52 seconds apart late in the fourth quarter to even the slate at 6-6.
The Riggers poured on the pressure in the fourth quarter, but faced a tough challenge to score on Bold, who made back-to-back saves on Manning and Cornwall to keep the game tied.
Persistence paid off for the ’Necks as they scored four straight goals – two by Shattler and one each off the sticks of Cornwall and Dickson – to take a 10-6 lead.
After Scott Evans scored for the Rush, Cornwall and Shawn Evans replied to put the Riggers up 12-7. Johnson scored in the game’s final minute for Edmonton, but it was too little, too late for the Rush.
Next up, the Roughnecks travel to Denver to face the league-leading Colorado Mammoth (6-0) on Friday, Feb. 24 (7 p.m. MST).