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Weekend recap: Rough stuff

03/11/2013, 12:05am EDT
By Jeff Baker for NLL.com

Calgary's Dobbie moves his feet for 'sock trick', Toronto's Gamble cashes in, Colorado bounces back with emergence of Belanger, Trouble in 'Banditland', Stealth and Wings also let fists fly, Ratcliff hits milestone

Week #10 of the 2013 NLL regular season featured a little bit of everything during the four games. (Photo: Eric Matey)

Week #10 of the 2013 NLL regular season featured impressive individual performances, the emergence of talented young players, an impressive milestone, and some rough stuff in the final minutes of Saturday night's games.

Dane Dobbie scored six goals to help the Calgary Roughnecks (6-5) get back in the win column and hand the Minnesota Swarm (3-7) their third-straight loss with a 19-15 home win at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday night.

“Heroic is what he was,” Roughnecks forward Curtis Dickson told the Calgary Sun. “That’s the Dane Dobbie everyone knows and loves. He’s capable of doing that every night. It’s a testament to the player he is.

“Putting up 10 points, somebody might look at that as special. He can do that any time he wants to. It’s a great effort from him tonight and our offence overall.”

For Dobbie, the "sock trick" was the result of improved footwork after being motivated by Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky the week before.

“Dane was called out last week for just standing around and not moving his feet,” Malawsky said. “He didn’t complain. He went to the gym three times this week and got himself in better shape. He went to the real dirty areas of the floor to contribute. He had a great night for us.”

The Swarm continued their struggles without captain Andrew Suitor, who was lost for the season with a knee injury, as they are now 0-5 without their leader in the lineup.

“As the game progressed, calls went their way, and we didn’t answer,” said Swarm head coach Joe Sullivan told NLL.com. “Our defense started to ball watch and sit back and play not as aggressive as we needed to. We pride ourselves on being a team that goes out and presses the ball and can contain a player one-on-one. We didn’t do that and we left our goalie high and dry at times.”

The Toronto Rock (7-3) strengthened their lead atop the East Division with a 14-10 home win over the Colorado Mammoth before a crowd of 10,823 at Air Canada Centre on Friday night.

Rock transition player Jesse Gamble continued his strong play this season with his first career hat trick. Despite his big game, Gamble was quick to credit his team's defense for containing the likes of Colorado forwards John Grant, Jr., Adam Jones and Gavin Prout.

“They have some of the most talented players in the league on offence, so we knew they weren’t going away,” Gamble told the Toronto Star.

“It was a big game for both of us,” Gamble added. “[The Mammoth] need to try to turn their season around and we’re coming off a tough loss. I think we might have wanted it more.”

But Colorado certainly wanted it more the following night against the Buffalo Bandits. Powered by an eight-goal run to close the game, the Colorado Mammoth (3-7) snapped their five-game losing streak with a 12-6 road victory over the Bandits (5-5) before a crowd of 16,428 at First Niagara Center on Saturday night.

“We had no energy, no desire, no will to compete,” Bandits head coach Darris Kilgour told the Buffalo News.

Making his first career start, Mammoth rookie goaltender Tye Belanger impressed with 30 saves on 36 shots, shutting Buffalo out for the final 26:17 of the game.

“[Belanger] did really well,” Mammoth head coach Bob Hamley told NLL.com. “We knew when we scouted him that he doesn’t get rattled…and he didn’t get rattled tonight after a couple goals and was steady for us all night. Tye held the fort and I’m pretty proud of him.”

After winning their first two games at home, the Bandits have now lost four straight games in "Banditland" at First Niagara Center.

“It was frustrating standing behind the bench,” Kilgour said. “We let the fans down. We should be disappointed in our play.”

To say that Kilgour was disappointed with Hamley for calling timeout up by six goals with 30 seconds left would be an understatement.

An all-out brawl broke out shortly after as all 10 runners on the field paired off. Almost immediately after the final whistle, there was an altercation involving coaches from both teams near the visiting bench as tempers flared.

But during his postgame interview, Hamley said he had his reasons for calling the timeout, hinting that it was more to protect his players rather than just rubbing it in.

“Our guy was in trouble along the board with three guys on him,” Hamley said. “I wanted to save him from getting beaten.”

Things also got ugly in the final minutes when the Washington Stealth (7-4) widened their lead atop the West Division and snapped a three-game winning streak by the Philadelphia Wings (5-4) with a 16-10 road win at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night.

WIth a little over a minute left in the game, players from both teams fought and mixed it up with game misconducts and major penalties being assessed to both clubs. The teams finished with a combined 93 penalty minutes, mostly due to the late-game fighting, something that didn't go over well with Wings general manager and head coach Johnny Mouradian.

"I think it’s a very, very classless act of a head coach in this league who sends players out to start a brawl when they’re up by [six] goals," Mouradian told Philly.com. "We didn’t want our players to go out there and shake hands after because anything could have happened with how volatile they were."

Somewhat overshadowed by the melee was the fact that Stealth forward Lewis Ratcliff scored his 400th career goal and seemed to have found his game by finishing with seven points (4+3).

"It was nice just to have a bit of a breakout game after the past couple of weeks," Ratcliff told the Everett Herald. "To be honest, I forgot that it was 400 and (my teammates) started to go get the ball and I thought they were making fun of me when I scored my third one there and then it kind of reminded me that it was 400. It was pretty cool."

With his 400th career goal, Ratcliff became just the seventh player in NLL history to accomplish the feat and just the fifth active player in the 400-goal club behind John Tavares, John Grant, Jr., Colin Doyle and Shawn Williams.

"It's a big honor and I hope to keep going and get to 500 one day," he added.

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