Dane Dobbie had five points (3+2), including his 400th career point, to help the Calgary Roughnecks (5-3) come back to beat the visiting Rochester Knighthawks (5-3) by a score of 11-10 in front of 9,207 fans at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night.
“The floor seemed to be tilted tonight,” said Roughneck assistant coach Bob McMahon. “Most of the goals were at our end. They were good in the first and the third, and I thought we dominated the second, and came back in the fourth. We got good action out of Karsen (Leung), and Geoff Snider pushing the ball up the floor, and we finished on our chances.”
In a game which saw a huge fourth-quarter comeback by the Riggers, the big story of this game could be pinpointed to the midway mark of the first quarter. ‘Necks goalie Mike Poulin was pulled after giving up four goals on eight shots, but returned just 30 seconds later on fire, only giving up six goals on the next 41 shots he faced.
“It’s just something we do as a team, to regroup as a unit,” said Poulin on the 30-second pull. “It’s kind of a message sent to everyone that we need to be better, and we can’t let the first five minutes tell the story of the game.”
At one point, Poulin stopped 17-straight shots, the longest streak of saves the netminder has had this season.
“I knew I needed to play a good game,” added Poulin. “(Rochester) has a great offense. When you have a (heck) of a great defensive performance by our guys, it made my job a lot easier.”
The Riggers saw key goals from Curtis Dickson (2+2), and Jeff Shattler (2+1), Karsen Leung (1+1). Garrett McIntosh (1+0) and Daryl Veltman (1+3) rounded out the final scoring marks in the victory. Shawn Evans (0+4) failed to hit the twine, but finished the game with four helpers.
Most of Rochester’s offense came from Cody Jamieson (2+5), Stephen Keogh (3+2), and Joe Walters (2+2). Joel McCready (1+4) and Johnny Powless (2+1) also picked up goals in the loss.
The Knighthawks capped off the first quarter up 5-1. They also nudged the Roughnecks in shots, 12-11. The Roughnecks held the Knighthawks scoreless in the second, much in part from a solid performance by goaltender Mike Poulin. He stopped all 11 shots fired his way. Matt Vinc also held strong in net for Rochester, stopping 21 of 25 shots through the first half. The Knighthawks entered the third quarter up 5-4.
Dobbie tied the game early in the second half, sparking a back-and-forth battle between the two teams. However, Rochester spanned a late three-goal run to take a 9-6 lead heading into the final frame.
The Roughnecks needed a huge fourth quarter if they wanted to win, and did just that. Curtis Dickson picked up the game-tying and go-ahead goals, and Dobbie capped off a 5 goal run for the ‘Necks. With four minutes left, the Roughnecks had their first lead of the game. They finished off in nail-biting fashion as Poulin stopped one-last shot in the final seconds to seal the deal.
“The game's never over until it’s over,” said Dobbie, the game's first star. “That’s the way the NLL is…teams go on runs. We went on our runs in the second and fourth quarter, and luckily we pulled one out, it was a good game.”
“They turned it up to a different level,” said Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen, who watched his team drop the game by one goal for the third time this season. “They were running the floor very well, and they capitalized on their opportunities, that was the difference there tonight.”
A major factor in the Roughnecks win came from their success on the man-advantage. The Riggers went 3-for-3 on the powerplay; a proven difference maker in the victory.
“If you give them the opportunity, they’re going to score,” added Hasen on Calgary’s accomplishment on the powerplay. “We gave them too many opportunities. It comes down to special teams in this league a lot, and like tonight, they beat us.”
Heading into Colorado next weekend, the Knighthawks are still confident they’ll cap off their three-game road trip in triumphant fashion.
“We’ve got pretty good coaches here,” said Knighthawks forward Johnny Powless, who picked up his eigth and ninth goals of the year in the game. “We’ll get back to practice on Wednesday, watch a bit of film on the Mammoth, and go from there.”
Three Stars of the Game as selected by the media:
1) Dane Dobbie
2) Matt Vinc
3) Curtis Dickson
The Calgary Roughnecks finish off their three-game homestand next Saturday, when they welcome the Toronto Rock to the Scotiabank Saddledome at 9 p.m. ET, airing live live on TSN2 (Canada) and ESPN3 (U.S.). Meanwhile, the Knighthawks finish off a three-game road swing the same night when they take on the Colorado Mammoth at the same time.