Sunday, April 13, 2008

Necks gain momentum in playoff race

With two games left of a somewhat lethargic season, the Calgary Roughnecks once again find themselves in a must-win situation. The challengers are the usual suspects: the Edmonton Rush, to whom the Necks finally took their first win against on Saturday night (April 12). Although, the Rush do have an extra game in hand. It’s also no surprise that Colorado has wrapped up the West Division with San Jose immediately behind. Portland is also amongst the Rush and the Roughnecks, vying for a playoff spot.

Newcomer Josh Sanderson has found his way as a nice setup man, but losing Lewis Ratcliff in exchange (Ratcliff and a conditional 2009 second round pick were sent to Toronto in exchange for Sanderson and a 2008 first round pick) could significantly hamper the scoring punch the Roughnecks desperately need.

Ratcliff’s stats still top the team after two games gone. The next closest scorer is Scott Ranger, who is still six points behind. Radcliff led the Necks with seven hat tricks and is the all-time point leader.

One of the storylines to Saturday’s contest was that Edmonton owner Bruce Urban bought 650 tickets for Rush fans to travel to Calgary to lend their support. His money as good as anyone else’s, Urban actually brought a contingency of about 1,000 people.

Nolan Heavenor – the all heart transitional player who was moved to starting center this year – was rushed off the field with a face injury (seemingly a broken nose) then came back to score back-to-back goals to help cement an 18-7 victory over the Rush.


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