Calgary Roughnecks’ goaltender Christian Del Bianco became the x-factor as they spoiled the Saskatchewan Rush’s homeowner 11-10 on Saturday night to drop the Rush to 0-2.
Del Bianco faced a barrage of shots, but stopped 49 of the 59 shots he faced in the victory.
The Roughnecks made a quick statement as Tyler Pace scored on the first shot of the game 35 seconds into the first quarter.
Goals from Tanner Cook and a diving effort from Hayden Dickson put Calgary up 3-0 and the first quarter wasn’t even five minutes old.
That’s when the Rushed leaned in its veterans with Jeff Shattler scoring two goals just over one minute apart from each other to get the Rush within one.
A cross checking call against Reece Callies at 11:26 but the ever-dangerous Rush power play on the floor. They would capitalize with Robert Church finding the back of the net.
Zach Currier and Dan Lintner would exchange goals to make it 4-4 after one quarter of play.
Church scored his second of the game to open the second quarter and gave the Rush their first lead of the game. Pace would not be outdone to tie it up once again 5-5.
Both teams found themselves getting into penalty trouble, first Mark Matthews sniped one home on the power play. After Mike Messenger took a holding call, Hayden Dickson would score on the man-advantage. The game would be knotted 6-6 at the half.
Once again Calgary came out quick out of the gate in the third with Liam LeClair beating Adam Shute only 45 seconds into the frame.
Just under four minutes into the third, Saskatchewan defenceman Ryan Dilks found himself on a breakaway. While he didn’t score, the Roughnecks’ defence was a little quick getting on to the floor and were called for illegal substitution. As per the rules, an illegal substitution on a breakaway means a penalty shot. The Rush gave the ball to Matthews and the Mailman delivered to make it 7-7.
Calgary regained momentum as Curtis Manning, Hayden Dickson and Jesse King each had markers to give the Roughnecks a 10-7 lead in hostile territory.
Lintner would stop the bleeding with three second left in the quarter on the power play to get the Rush within one.
Josh Currier scored his first goal in a Rush uniform 3:33 of the fourth, diving across the crease. The call on the field was no-goal as the official thought the ball hit the post. Upon further review, the ball did cross the line and the call was overturned.
Shatter would then tie up the game at 6:20 and suddenly the battle of the prairies was a coin flip.
Zach Herreweyers would score his first NLL goal and it would prove to be the game-winner. Herreweyers flew across the crease to beat Shute with only 1:55 left to play.
Shute would stop 25 of 36 shots in the loss.
Mark Matthews: 2g, 4a
Robert Church: 2g, 3a
Ryan Keenan: 4a
Jesse King: 1g, 6a
Hayden Dickson: 3g
Tyler Pace: 2g, 1a
Tanner Cook: 1g, 2a
Shane Simpson: 3a
Shawn Slaght has been a sports reporter across the Canadian prairies for over 10 years and has experience covering everything from junior hockey to World Cup skiing to all levels of lacrosse. He is the Saskatchewan correspondent for All Lacrosse All The Time.