January 10, 2010

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NLL: Roughnecks Pick Up Where They Left Off

from press release

CALGARY, AB - The Calgary Roughnecks began defense of their 2009 National Lacrosse League title with a 12-7 win over the Minnesota Swarm in front of 8,112 fans at the Pengrowth Saddledome on Saturday afternoon.

The game featured a pre-game ceremony in which the 2009 Western Division and Champion’s Cup banners were raised to the rafters of the ’Dome.

Following the festivities, Calgary’s leading scorer from last season, Josh Sanderson, picked up right where he left off with four goals and six assists to lead the Riggers to victory in their home opener.

Dane Dobbie had a goal and four assists for the Riggers, while Jeff Shattler (1g, 3a), Scott Ranger (2g, 1a) and Tracey Kelusky (1g, 2a) also had strong games. Craig Conn and Jeff Moleski each chipped in with a goal and an assist, rookie defenceman Curtis Manning scored his first NLL goal in his first game with the Riggers, while Scott Carnegie had a pair of assists.

Ryan Benesch led the Swarm (0-1) with two goals and three assists, while Aaron Wilson scored twice and set up another. Callum Crawford notched a goal and two helpers, while Sean Thomson (1g, 1a), Andrew Watt (1g) and Zack Greer (2a) also hit the score sheet.

Matt King got the call in net for the Roughnecks on Sunday afternoon and made 37 saves to record the victory.

Minnesota goalie Nick Patterson started in net for Minnesota and stopped 34 of 45 shots he faced. Kevin Croswell relieved Patterson for a brief stint in the second quarter and stopped one of two shots he faced.

Sanderson started things off for the home squad at 3:40 of the first quarter when he took a pass from Kelusky and bounced a shot past Patterson.

A short time later, the Swarm responded as Watt and Wilson scored goals 61 seconds apart to put Minnesota up 2-1.

Late in the first quarter, Moleski tied things up when he spun off a check from Minnesota’s Jay Thorimbert and flicked a low shot past Patterson.

The Riggers then took a 3-2 lead when Kelusky converted a pass from Sanderson during a Calgary man advantage at 3:54 of the second quarter. Just 26 seconds later Kelusky returned the favour and set up a goal by Sanderson to put Calgary up by a pair.

Sanderson then completed his hat trick at 5:39 of the second when he faked a shot before depositing the ball into the net behind Patterson, who fell to his back awkwardly on the play.

Back-up goalie Kevin Croswell then entered the game and stopped the first shot he faced before Ranger beat him with a high shot to put Calgary up 6-2.

Patterson then re-entered the game and kept the ’Necks off the scoresheet for the rest of the half, while Benesch scored twice to bring the visitors within a pair of goals heading into the intermission.

After Crawford scored for the Swarm at 2:56 of the third quarter, Manning scored his first-ever NLL goal for the Roughnecks 46 seconds later to put Calgary up 7-5.

Led by Sanderson, the Roughnecks continued to pour on the pressure and outscored the Swarm 5-2 to emerge with the victory.

The same two teams will meet for a rematch at the Xcel Energy Centre in St. Paul, Minnesota next Friday night (6:30 p.m. start time). The Riggers will return home to the ’Dome to take on the Washington Stealth on Saturday, Jan. 23 (7:30 p.m. start time).


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