Roughnecks Edged by Stealth 16-15

Ratcliff leads charge against former mates

– story by Tom Frank
– photos by Marcelo Saguez

Calgary, AB – The last time these teams met was in last years West Final. The Stealth (formerly from San Jose), were held scoreless for the first three quarters of that game and suffered a 17-5 loss. Colin Doyle has since moved back to the Toronto Rock and former ally, Lewis Ratcliff joined Washington.

From the opening faceoff, both teams had quality scoring chances. However, it was the visiting Washington Stealth jumping out to an early 2 goal lead. Josh Sanderson replied for the hosts, cutting to the net and receiving a nifty behind-the-back pass from Craig Conn. The Stealth took control from there and ended the quarter with a 5-1 lead.

Lewis Ratcliff continued the Stealth attack, scoring his hat-trick goal 1:41 into the second quarter. Soon after, Dane Dobbie and Conn scored goals 23 seconds apart to bring the Roughnecks to within 3. Washington took a timeout to regroup, but Calgary kept coming. Tracey Kelusky cut through the middle and made a great behind-the-back pass to Scott Ranger on the crease. Conn scored a long point shot that bounced top corner past Stealth tender Matt Roik. Watching their lead shrink to 1, the Stealth make a goalie change.

After Curtis Hodgson scored a shorthanded marker for the Stealth, Dobbie and Sanderson scored 2 more quick goals, this time 15 seconds apart, to tie the game 7-7. The goal for Sanderson marked the 300th of his NLL career.

Washington regained their 2 goal lead with shorthanded goals by Ratcliff and Rhys Duch, 8 seconds apart. Kelusky and Conn tie the game 9-9 going into the half.

The seesaw battle continued in the second half; Stealth up by 2, Calgary back to tie it 11 apiece. Jeff Moleski scored at 10:09 of the third to give the Roughnecks their first lead of the game. The hosts finished with a 13-12 lead going into the last quarter.

Dobbie scored his hat-trick 22 seconds into the fourth and extended the Riggers lead by 2. Washington scored the next 4; Jeff Zywicki, Cam Sedgwick with his third, Luke Wiles on the powerplay and Ratcliff with his sixth.

With just over a a minute remaining, Calgary pulled Matt King in favour of the extra attacker. Dobbie blasted one over the right shoulder of Roik, but it looked to catch the post. A challenge was issued and under review a goal was awarded to The Roughnecks. Calgary continued to rally in the dying seconds but could not get the equalizer to force overtime.

This was Calgary’s second straight loss, now 1-2 early in the season. Washington is perfect at 4-0 including their home win against Buffalo the night before.

Next is a home-at-home series against provincial rivals, the Edmonton Rush (2-1). Game 1 – Saturday, January 30 in Edmonton. Then back home Friday, February 5 for the rematch.

Other Game notes:

– SOG 51 by both teams
– PP Calgary 1/4 Washington 0/4 (however 3 SH)
– game MVP Lewis Ratcliff 6 goals 3 assists against his former team
– Calgary had 3 players scoring 4 goals: Conn (4-3), Sanderson (4-3) and Dobbie (4-1)
– Jeff Shattler was Calgary’s playmaker with 6 assists


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