Sting West Final Sat. Apr. 28th at 7:30!!!!!!!!!
Come out and support the Sting this Saturday!! One win away from the Champion's Cup Final!!!!
STING TAKE DOWN ROUGHNECKS 13-9
Arizona Will Play Host to San Jose in the
NLL West Division Final Next Weekend
Official Score Sheet
It was déjà vu all over again at the Pengrowth Saddledome on Saturday night, as the Arizona Sting stormed into Calgary and knocked off the higher-seeded Roughnecks by four goals to advance to the next round of the Champion’s Cup Playoffs. The Sting pulled off the same feat in 2005, vanquishing the Riggers 19-15 en route to their first Division Championship in team history. This time around, the Sting relied on a strong defensive effort to thwart the Roughnecks, with All-Star net minder Rob Blasdell (41 saves on the night) confounding Calgary’s star forwards on several occasions. The Sting attack was led by Dan Dawson and Curt Malawsky, who both tallied hat tricks in the road victory. Dawson gave credit to his goaltender for Saturday’s victory.
“Rob (Blasell) was simply awesome tonight,” said Dawson. “Every time we needed a big save, he delivered. This was a huge win for us after a disappointing end to the regular season, and I can’t wait for another shot at the West Division title next weekend in the desert.”
Blasdell shut out the Riggers for the game’s final 18 minutes to earn the win on Saturday night. The wily veteran was quick to point out the strong effort put forth by his teammates in the game following the win.
“My defense played really well in front of me out there,” said Blasdell. “I saw every shot perfectly and they really did a good job of keeping their top forwards from getting in on me tonight. We’re really happy to be heading back to Arizona next weekend, and hopefully we can keep this momentum going all the way to the Champion’s Cup Final.
By virtue of San Jose’s 15-14 overtime win in Colorado on Saturday, the third-ranked Sting will host the fourth-ranked Stealth in the West Division Final next weekend at Jobing.com Arena. The exact date and time of the game will be announced shortly.
Saturday’s first quarter opened with a transition tally off the stick of ‘Silky’ Scott Self at the 2:08 mark of the frame. Scott Ranger then tied the match at one apiece two minutes later, beating Rob Blasdell to the lower left corner for his first goal of the post-season. Matt Brown then gave the Sting a 2-1 lead with a goal at the 6:20 mark of the opening period. The ever-dangerous Roughnecks power play then went to work, with Kaleb Toth bulging the twine for the home team to re-tie the match 2-2. Tracey Kelusky put the Riggers up 3-2 with a goal in the first quarter’s penultimate minute, but a goal from Curt Malawsky with 12.5 seconds remaining in the frame made the score 3-3 at the end of the evening’s inaugural 15 minute session.
Peter Veltman gave Arizona a 4-3 lead early in the second quarter, beating Roughnecks net minder Ryan Avery with a low shot for his fifth career playoff goal. Craig Conn scored shortyly therafter, putting the visiting squad from the Valley of the Sun up by two in the process. The Sting onslaught continued, as ‘Dangerous’ Dan Dawson scored on the next Arizona possession to both make the score 6-3 in the visitors’ favor and prompt a change in net for the Riggers, as veteran goaltender Andrew Leyshon took over Avery’s duties. Arizona went up 7-3 on their 18th shot of the night, as Derek Malawsky found the back of the net with a well-placed shot that Leyshon was unable to impede the progress of. Calgary’s power play then went back to work, with Scott Ranger scoring his second goal of the match to pull the home team back to within three of the Sting lead. Curt Malawsky and Kaleb Toth then exchanged goals to make the score 8-5 with 8:49 remaining in the first half. Rob Blasdell then stoned Lewis Ratcliff from short range two minutes later to preserve the three-goal Arizona advantage. With 2:53 remaining in the second quarter however, Blasdell was beaten on a rocket of a shot off the stick of Tracey Kelusky, who pulled the Riggers back to within two of the Sting with his second tally of the match.
Two quick goals by the Roughnecks accompanied the opening of the second half, as the score was tied at eight apiece on goals by Tracey Kelusky and Lewis Ratcliff. Some extremely physical lacrosse then predominated play for the subsequent ten minutes, as both teams’ defenses punished their offenisive counterparts in brutal fashion. The Sting then retook the lead with 4:59 remaining in the third quarter, as Curt Malawsky scored his third goal of the game to give Arizona a one-goal lead. That lead was expanded upon by Dan Dawson, who beat Leyshon with a high shot 0:28 later to make the score 10-8. On Calgary’s next possession however, Nolan Heavenor scored on a 2-on-1 break to pull the Roughnecks back to within one of the Sting lead. In transition, Derek Malawsky then scored to double the Arizona lead as the third period came to an end.
Twenty-eight seconds into the fourth quarter, Scott Self scored his second goal of the game on an incredible outlet pass from Rob Blasdell to put the Sting up by a field goal early in the final period. Dan Dawson’s third of the night then put Arizona up by four, a sum that prompted another goaltending change for the Riggers, as Ryan Avery was reinstated as Calgary’s goalie with just under fourteen minutes remaining in regulation. With 6:19 remaining in regulation, Rob Blasdell stymied Kyle Goundrey on a breakaway to keep the four-goal Sting lead in tact. The Roughnecks were unable to solve Blasdell in the closing minutes of play, and the final score ended up being 13-9.
Sting Head Coach/GM Bob Hamley was impressed with his team’s effort in Saturday’s victory.
“This was a total team victory,” said Hamley following the impressive win. “Every player on this team did their job out there tonight and we really showed what Sting lacrosse is all about out there. I’m very proud of our team, and we’ll definitely be ready for next weekend’s showdown with the Stealth.”
The Sting won both of their matches versus San Jose during the regular season, the most recent of which was a 10-9 victory on March 31 in Glendale.