“Power” Ranger scores 5
Story by Tom Frank
Photos by Marcelo Saguez
Scotiabank Saddledome – The evening began with a White Hat Ceremony honouring Calgary’s former captain, Tracey Kelusky. Kelusky is familiar with playing home openers in Calgary. Tonight though, he returned as part of the opposition, with the Buffalo Bandits. Tracey was honoured before the game and greeted by Calgary President and General Manager, Brad Banister.
Kelusky played for the Roughnecks for eight seasons including two Championship’s Cup titles in 2004 and 2009.
Tonight marked the Roughnecks 10th Anniversary in Calgary. The Riggers quickly got on the board with a goal by #17 (Kelusky’s former jersey), this time worn by rookie Curtis Dickson. Dickson looked just like Calgary’s former captain, fighting from the corner and diving across the crease for the marker. A minute later, Kelusky scored a great over the shoulder shot into the top corner, just like he did for the Riggers over the past eight seasons.
Both teams lacked the intensity you’d see in mid-season, but they soon found their footing in the second quarter. At least Calgary did, scoring five times to Buffalo’s three. Four of Calgary’s goals came from Scott Ranger, including 2 on the powerplay. The other goal was scored by Kaleb Toth, the only player who has been with the team since Day 1. The Riggers controlled most of the play in the quarter. Buffalo got to within 1 goal, scoring on their own powerplay making it 5-4, but Calgary finished the half leading by three, 8-5.
It was a much faster game after halftime. The Bandits scored four times to the Roughnecks two. Breakdowns by Calgary on transition gave Buffalo many opportunities. The Bandits took lots of shots, but many missed the net. They did get a break on one, as the shot rebounded off the back board and hit the back of Calgary goalie Mike Poulin’s leg, just crossing the goal line. Poulin made some key saves in the final quarter and his defence held strong.
With the limited goals in the second half, the 9590 fans in the crowd were pretty quiet. They got to their feet however, cheering loudly after Calgary’s 10th goal was scored by Geoff Snider. Immediately after the play, Snider and Buffalo’s Steve Priolo dropped the gloves for a spirited fight. Priolo had the edge early, connecting with lefts, but once Snider’s jersey was off and they separated, Snider came back for more to the delight of the crowd. Calgary held on to win 10-9. A fitting start to their season.
– Calgary was 2 for 6 on the powerplay and scored 2 short-handed
– Buffalo was 3 for 7
– Snider was 16 for 20 on face-offs
-Calgary plays the defending champions, Washington Stealth, Sunday in Washington.
-A lot has changed for the Calgary Roughnecks over the off-season. Gone are offensive talents Josh Sanderson and captain Tracey Kelusky. Other players dealt away include defenceman Jeff Moleski, transition player Devan Wray and goalie Matt King.
-New faces for the Roughnecks include Daryl Veltman, Cory Conway and Mark Schermann on offence, defencemen Jon Harnett and Dayne Michaud and transition player /face-off specialist Geoff Snider. Goalie Curtis Palidwor joins the team as back-up.
-Four draft picks round out Calgary’s roster – Curtis Dickson, Brandon Ivey, Derek Hopcroft and Dan MacRae. Bob McMahon joins the coaching staff as Defence Coordinator.
-Banister announced earlier this week that the team was up for sale.
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