The Calgary Roughnecks (2-7) captured its second win of the season in a 12-11 overtime thriller against the Edmonton Rush (4-4) in the second installment of the “Battle of Alberta” season series between the provincial rivals on Sunday at Rexall Place.
“Our record doesn’t really stand for what kind of team we are,” said Roughnecks forward Daryl Veltman, who scored the overtime winner.
The Roughnecks have been hard pressed for wins this season, but have not lacked in good play. Leading up to tonight game, Calgary had lost four games by just one goal.
The Rush have now lost three one-goal games, showing that, record aside, most teams in this league sit on a fairly-level platform. Edmonton head coach and general manager Derek Keenan was again unhappy with the result of the game, but also knows that their record may not be the best indicator of play.
“With both those games [last two weeks], we could be sitting here at 6-2 very easily. It’s a one-goal league a lot of the times, and we’ve lost three one-goal games. They played desperate, we knew they were going to and I thought we played well in spurts but could maybe use a little more consistency.”
It took both teams a few minutes to get their legs under them while playing in the afternoon, but after that, the pace of the game turned right up. Edmonton started with a 3-0 lead with goals from Ben McIntosh, Mark Matthews, and Robert Church. It was Shawn Evans who got Calgary on the board late in the first to close out the scoring in the quarter. Edmonton had better control of the ball early, with multiple shot-clock possessions and forcing turnovers on the defensive side.
Back-and-forth action continued in the second, with Calgary playing crisper and shooting the ball well. The Roughnecks outscored the Rush 5-3 with two goals each from from Curtis Dickson and Daryl Veltman, and one late from Jeff Shattler to tie the game at 6-6. Edmonton got goals from Zack Greer, Jarrett Davis and Church, and looked to make some half-time adjustments against the Calgary defense that wasn’t giving up many quality shots.
Neither team was willing to back down in the third. Matthews scored to give Edmonton the lead back, but Curtis Dickson scored 33 seconds later to tie it up at 7-7. Robert Church scored his hat-trick goal before Riley Loewen scored his first goal since these two teams played back in January to regain a two-goal lead. Shawn Evans ripped one to get Calgary back within one heading into the fourth quarter.
The Roughnecks tied the game once again in when Daryl Veltman scored his third of the game. The back and forth action continued. Karsen Leung gave the Roughnecks thier first lead of the game, but Zack Greer tied it back up at 10-10 with his second of the game.
With 49.7 seconds left, Jeff Moleski scored his first of the season to give Calgary the lead. The win looked secured, until Calgary took a Too Many Men Penalty with 15 seconds left resulting in an automatic penalty shot for Edmonton. Greer was given the opportunity and made no mistake, scoring his third of the night. For the second time in as many games, Edmonton was going to play overtime.
Also for the second week in a row, the Rush would experience overtime heartbreak, this time at the hands of Daryl Veltman. The Roughnecks got the team’s much-needed second win of the year and are still very much a factor in the West Division as the second half of the season gets rolling.
“It was a back-and-forth battle,” Veltman said. “Possession after possession, just trying to get to the net. I think we had a couple good chances in front. I knew it was late in the clock, and I just kinda turned, and took a shot and fired it hoping for a rebound and luckily it went in.”
Veltman lead the game with four goals, while teammate Evans had a game-high eight points (2+6).
Sunday’s win was also a big one for Calgary goaltender Mike Poulin who posted a .750 save percentage and made some big saves throughout the game.
It was Mark Matthews once again leading the Rush in scoring, this time with six points (2+4).
“Every team in this league is good, and we’re always looking to win those tight ones,” said Rush transition player Jeremy Thompson. “Last year we won those close games, and this year we’re still trying to figure it out.”
Thompson was 20-for-27 in the faceoff circle and gathered 15 loose balls in the losing effort.
Next up for Edmonton is a game against the Vancouver Stealth at home this Saturday, while the Roughnecks will host the Rochester Knighthawks to start a three-game homestand.
Three Stars of the Game as selected by the media:
1) Daryl Veltman
2) Shawn Evans
3) Mark Matthews
Story by Mike Wilson (@RushBeat) for NLL.com. Photo by Dale MacMillan.