This weekend I fully expected to be greatly entertained by the Roughnecks as they played the Colorado Mammoth. What I wasn’t expecting to leave the arena feeling as physically and emotionally drained as I did.
Some people were considering this a very important game for both teams given the current parity in the league. Going into this weekend the NLL had a tie for first in the West and three teams within 1.5 games behind those leaders.
Lewis Ratcliff managed to put the boys on top 1:42 into the first quarter — definitely a great way to start the first home game since the All-Star game. Prout answered back for Colorado. Jason Wulder would wrap up the scoring for Calgary that quarter shortly after and, unfortunately, also be the last go ahead goal for the Roughnecks for a long time.
The Riggers fought back in the second, closing the gap and tying the score at 4 before Sims, Prepchuk, and Prout put the Mammoth firmly in the lead again. Coming on strong and fully re-energized for the third quarter Calgary was the first to put up numbers for the frame. Grant Hamilton and Jeff Moleski — shorthanded and unassisted mind you — put the score at 7–6. With two players in the box for us Colorado’s Langtry and Stroup put a couple past Andrew Leyshon — who had replaced Curtis Palidwor early in the second quarter.
Back at full strength, the Roughnecks were determined to make up some much needed ground. Kaleb Toth, the man that many have been criticizing for his seemingly poor performance as of late — scored the next two goals for Calgary. Jalbert padded the Mammoth lead to two again by scoring half-way through the quarter. In response, Kyle Goundrey and Jason Wulder worked their magic to end the quarter 10 even.
For the fourth time in the game, Calgary was first to score with a goal by Kevin Dostie 33 seconds into the fourth. Colorado, with the extra attacker, managed to tie the score shortly after thanks to Carlson. Still on the powerplay, Prepchuk made it 12–11 for the Mammoth. For the hat trick, Wulder put one past Nash 30 seconds later. Grant Hamilton continued our scoring trend by putting another one in the net on a powerplay.
The glory was short-lived for us as Prout managed to score a shorthanded goal a couple minutes afterwards. Not one to limit himself, Wulder went on the offensive during a powerplay to give us a 14–13 lead. During the final minutes of the fourth quarter everyone in the arena was on their feet rallying behind the boys. The only chance Colorado had was to pull Nash and hope for the best. To the chagrin of all the fans they managed finally wear down Leyshon enough to get one past him. Of course it took them a full 2 minutes of constantly shooting at him to accomplish that result but in the end they did it.
To me, the regular game is exciting. When it comes to overtime we’re basically talking about adding a side of excitement to an already overflowing plate of excitement. By the time OT started I was shaking and about to get my nervous sweat on. My heart racing and all the fans at their feet, the entire quarter was a succession of ooo’s and aaah’s. Fans were so revved up they were jumping at the closest sign of anything that had potential to be a game ending shot.
The first 8 minutes of OT were a constant barrage of hard-hitting action. Each team gave their all and the play changed ends regularly. That was until 8:11 into overtime, on a shot that just pure beauty to me, Lewis Ratcliff put the ball past Nash causing the arena to explode. After what seemed like an eternity I could finally relax and unclench my fists. Ratcliff only scored two goals this game but they just happened to be the two most important goals of the game.
Want to see how the results of this weekend played out in the standings? Check out the current league standings.