Calgary Roughnecks Capture NLL Crown

Story and photos by Tom Frank

It’s been five years since the Calgary Roughnecks won the cup. Six players remain from that team – Tracey Kelusky, Kaleb Toth, Kyle Goundrey, Devan Wray, Andrew McBride and Matt King. They were underdogs then, today they enter as the team to beat. This is the first appearance for the New York Titans in the “Big Game.” Last year, they made it to the Eastern Playoffs in only their second season before being beat out by the Buffalo Bandits who went on to win the title.

In their first and only meeting this season, February 28, the Riggers edged out the Titans 12-10. New York’s sniper Casey Powell was absent that game, but is here tonight to lead his team. Calgary enters with the league’s assists leader, Josh Sanderson.

New York scored early (1:31) with a power play tally from Pat Maddalena. That would be the Titans only lead of the game. New York was quick and they cycled the ball well. If you watched them too closely, your head would spin. They took many long shots throughout the game from the point. Calgary’s, Matt King, was up to the challenge, stepping out to the top of the crease. The Titans had success when they were able to pass down to the crease for a quick-stick shot or working the ball down low. Casey Powell is definitely the “quarterback” of the Titans offence. Powell finished the night with 4 goals and 2 assists. A couple of his goals found the net while he was diving in the air across the crease.

Calgary’s 1st was scored by Captain Tracey Kelusky at the 4:26 mark. New York found themselves 2 men down with penalties 13 seconds apart. The Riggers took the lead at the 9 minute mark with a harmless looking pass. Kelusky attempted a pass down the middle to Curt Malawsky, who was breaking through. It looked like Malawsky missed the pass and the ball found it’s way to the back of the net, fooling Titan goalie, Matt Vinc, on the way. The goal initially given to Kelusky was later credited to Malawsky.

It was a high-energy first half. Tied 4-4, Calgary scored two quick goals within the final 30 seconds of the 2nd quarter. Josh Sanderson would score a nice bounce shot through the legs of Vinc, while down low on the crease. The goal was challenged, but the replay and the officials confirmed it was good. Goal 6 by the Roughnecks, was one for the highlight reel. With 2 seconds remaining, Calgary called a timeout. Kaleb Toth took possession at half-field, made his way to about the blue line and let a laser go. The ball found the top corner of the net, just over Vinc’s right shoulder. The 13,042 fans went nuts.

The Titans scored 2 in the third to the Roughnecks 1, cutting the Riggers lead to one going into the final frame. New York quickly tied the game at 7, scoring 42 seconds into the 4th. Calgary would score 3 straight to regain their 2 goal lead.

Powell brought the visitors with one by scoring a power play marker from the point at 8:15 and another at 12:09 while diving low through the crease.

With 43 seconds remaining, Mike Carnegie would beat out Vinc trying to return to his net from the bench. Bruce Codd would score off the draw into the empty net as New York pulled their goalie in favour of the extra attacker. The Titans didn’t give up, scoring one more by Ryan Boyle with 28 seconds remaining. However, that would be it as the Calgary Roughnecks ran out the clock to secure the victory for there second league title in 6 years.

Other Game Notes:

– Josh Sanderson voted game MVP
– Calgary’s defence was great once again, forcing several turnovers that lead to opportunities, including the game winner.
– Both teams came to battle, a very exciting game to watch – high intensity
– Calgary set new NLL records last week in the Western Final; longest shut-out streak in the playoffs (45 mins 24 sec), 1st game winning goal in the playoffs by a netminder

More Game Pictures


1 Comment

  1. Congratulations to Coach Cordingley and all the good folks at Roughnecks lacrosse . iIam so happy to see the cup return to the land of the fastest game on two feet . As for NY well done lads no one gave you much of a chance . If the American born players on your team ar any indication of the talent stateside , I guess we Canadians had better take a long look at our programmes so we dont fall behind . another NLL season in the books ….. now its time for the real lacrosse season get out to a game near you soon .

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