The Calgary Roughnecks used a dominating third quarter to advance to the West Division Final with a 15-10 home win over the Colorado Mammoth in their first-round playoff game at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night.
Down 2-0 after the first four minutes of the game, the Roughnecks used a three-goal scoring run in a 1:21 span to take the lead before trading goals for a 4-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“It was not the start we wanted again, but we fought back like we’ve done all year and that’s huge,” said Roughnecks captain Andrew McBride. “The crowd gets rocking in here and you can see the other team's body language sag down and we really need that for momentum.”
After Colorado again scored twice in the first four minutes of the second quarter, the teams went back and forth and headed into halftime tied 7-7.
The third quarter was all Roughnecks as they scored the only four goals of the quarter for an 11-7 lead after 45 minutes of play.
“You cant go through a quarter without scoring a goal, at least one, and we just couldn’t get that goal,” said Mammoth head coach Bob Hamley. “We were chasing and chasing in the fourth quarter but they had momentum and we couldn’t catch them."
Calgary could do no wrong in the third, scoring twice while shorthanded on a five-minute major penalty to Curtis Dickson.
“That’s what good teams do and that’s what families do; one of your mates takes a bad penalty, you bail them out and that’s what the guys did," said Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky. “Dickson’s been great all year, he has won us games late in the game and we've got to step up for him and the guys did. It was a real big kill.”
Two more Calgary goals in the first 2:26 of the fourth quarter widened the margin before Colorado finally stopped the run with Casey Powell’s goal 27 seconds later, snapping a 19-save second-half streak by Roughnecks goalie Mike Poulin.
When Jeff Shattler made it 15-8 for the Roughnecks with 2:29, it was all but decided. Two late Mammoth goals were not enough to overcome the large deficit as the Roughnecks moved on to the second round.
Roughnecks forward Shawn Evans, who won the NLL scoring title with 112 points (30+82) during the regular season, scored a hat trick as did Shattler and Scott Ranger. Shattler had a game-high seven points (3+4), Daryl Veltman had six points (1+5) while Geoff Snider had a game-high 22 loose balls and went 23-for-29 (79%) on faceoffs.
“It doesn’t matter who scores, as long as we win the games in the end, no one is jealous of anyone on the team, we are a huge family,” Shattler said. "We just wanted the numbers up on the board more than them.”
Powell recorded a team-high six points (3+3) for the Mammoth, Adam Jones scored four goals, Jordan McBride had five assists and John Grant, Jr. had five points (2+3) in the losing effort.
Poulin finished with 32 saves on 40 shots before being given some rest on the bench in the final two minutes with the game in hand.
“He’s the goalie of the year. Earlier in the year, people were doubting him and we believed in 'Pouly'. He is such a key for us, not only on the floor, but in the locker room,” McBride said. "Whenever you can see your goalie ooze confidence and have that competitive edge and that fire in his eyes, it really fires the guys up and the team was there. Everyone was on board, everyone was pulling in the direction we needed to pull and that’s what you need to be successful in playoff times.”
Mammoth goalie Tye Belanger had just 27 saves on 40 shots before he was pulled in favor of backup Dan Lewis.
Calgary will host the Washington Stealth on Saturday, May 4 at 6 p.m. ET to decide which team will go on to the 2013 NLL Championship Game. Watch the game live on CBS Sports Network.
“They have a world class goaltender and real big guys in the back end and a real dynamic offense," Malawsky said. "We’ll enjoy this one and go to work tomorrow morning and have a game plan ready for them but any game in this league is a one-goal game so I don’t expect any different next week."
Roughnecks beat writer for NLL.com Jessica Elverum contributed to this report.