Roughnecks one win from final

The Calgary Roughnecks are a win away from playing host to the National Lacrosse League championship.

Nolan Heavenor of the Calgary Roughnecks celebrates his team's 10th goal against the Colorado Mammoth during National Lacrosse League playoff action at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

The Calgary Roughnecks are a win away from playing host to the National Lacrosse League championship.

Having started the playoffs by eliminating the Colorado Mammoth last weekend, the Roughnecks play the visiting San Jose Stealth in the West Division final Saturday.

A victory will give the top-seeded Roughnecks a chance to win the league title on their home floor a week later.

Calgary won the NLL title in 2004 when Chris Hall was head coach and Hall, now coaching the Stealth, relishes the opportunity to return to the Pengrowth Saddledome.

“My time in Calgary was great, I really enjoyed it,” says Hall. “The people there and the fans were great and the organization treated me well and we were able to win a championship.

“I know nobody will be cheering for us . . . but it’ll be a great atmosphere to play in. The energy in the building will be tremendous and I look forward to it.”

The game will feature two of the NLL’s premier playmakers — Josh Sanderson of the Roughnecks and Colin Doyle of the Stealth, who won the scoring title this season. Both are considered strong candidates for the MVP award.

Two of the best young players in the sport also will be on the floor — second-year attacker Dane Dobbie of the Roughnecks and rookie Rhys Duch of the Stealth, who’ll likely be named top NLL newcomer.

The goaltending matchup has Calgary’s Matt King at one end and rookie Tyler Richards at the other end.

“We’ve got to be extremely good fundamentally and minimize our mistakes,” assistant Roughnecks coach Dave Pym said during an NLL conference call. “San Jose has a high-powered offence so our defence is going to have to play its best game of the year.

“Offensively, we’re going to have to work very hard to get chances against a goalie who’s been hot down the stretch.”

King was Calgary’s backup goalie during the 2004 title run.

“I’m thrilled that Matt has developed into the goaltender he’s become,” says Hall.

Duch, Richards, Paul Rabil and the other San Jose rookies won’t wilt under the pressure of what is at hand, says Hall. They performed well in San Jose’s big win over the Portland Lumberjax last weekend.

“Rabil has played in front of 40,000 people in the NCAA . . . they’ll call on those past experiences and should be just fine,” says Hall.

If San Jose is to pull off an upset, look for Doyle to be at the centre of it all. The way he’s playing, anything is possible for the Stealth, so Calgary head coach Troy Cordingley will make sure his D men are all over Doyle.

“We’re going to play a high-pressure defence,” says Pym. “Colin Doyle is the key to their offence.

“He’s been a superstar in this league for a number of years and he’ll lift his game to a higher level and pull his teammates along with him.”

A strong Calgary defence corps will be ready.

The last Canadian team to the win the NLL title was Toronto in 2005.

The East Division final, also Saturday, will see the Buffalo Bandits play the New York Titans at the Prudential Centre in Newark, N.J. Buffalo beat New York in the 2008 divisional final before winning the Champion’s Cup.

Buffalo got past Boston in the division semifinal last weekend, while New York advanced with a win over Rochester on an overtime goal by Casey Powell. If the Bandits can stop Powell, they’ll win, but that is easier said than done.

Just Posted

Parenting: Every woman will have a different pregnancy experience

Wife whose hormones are unbalanced can be unpleasant experience

Men posing as repo men attempt to steal vehicle in Red Deer County

Two men attempted to steal a utility vehicle from a Red Deer… Continue reading

Red Deerian spreads kindness with one card at a time

One Red Deerian wants to combat bullying by spreading kindness in the… Continue reading

Bowden baby in need of surgery

“Help for Alexis” Go Fund Me account

PHOTO: First Rider bus safety in Red Deer

Central Alberta students learned bus safety in the Notre Dame High School… Continue reading

WATCH: Annual Family Picnic at Central Spray and Play

Blue Grass Sod Farms Ltd. held the Annual Family Picnic at the… Continue reading

Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard’s alleged sex offences case returns to court

TORONTO — The case of Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard, who faces three… Continue reading

Fredericton woman recounts terrifying moments after gunshots rang out

FREDERICTON — She awoke to the crack of gunfire, the shots fired… Continue reading

Climate change likely to cause more sewage leaks, McKenna says

OTTAWA — More than one hundred municipal wastewater systems did not report… Continue reading

Woman has finger ripped off at West Edmonton Mall waterslide

SASKATOON — A Saskatchewan woman says she lost a finger after her… Continue reading

Uncertainty looms over Canada’s cannabis tourism, but ambitions are high

TORONTO — Longtime marijuana advocate Neev Tapiero is ready for the cannabis-driven… Continue reading

Feds mulling safeguards to prevent ‘surge’ of cheap steel imports into Canada

OTTAWA — The federal government extended an olive branch of sorts to… Continue reading

Ontario govt caps off summer session by passing bill to cut Toronto council size

TORONTO — The Ontario government passed a controversial bill to slash the… Continue reading

Updated:Italian bridge collapse sends cars plunging, killing 26

MILAN — A 51-year-old highway bridge in the Italian port city of… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month