CALGARY – Shawn Evans scored his fourth goal 1:23 into overtime as the Calgary Roughnecks edged the Colorado Mammoth 16-15 in an entertaining, back-and-forth West Division semi-final Saturday.
Working against the tight-coverage of defender Joey Cupido, Evans made a couple quick pivots that got him just enough space to be able to fire a clean shot that beat Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward.
As he raced down the floor in jubilation, the Roughnecks poured off the bench and smothered the forward in a dog pile as the raucous crowd of 12,375 at the Scotiabank Saddledome celebrated.
Evans also had five assists for nine points.
Calgary moves on to face the Edmonton Rush in the West final.
Dane Dobbie scored four goals and Curtis Dickson added three more for Calgary. Geoff Snider and Jeff Shattler each scored a pair with Daryl Veltman also scoring.
Adam Jones scored five times to lead the way for Colorado. Athan Iannucci and John Grant Jr. had two goals apiece while Sean Pollock, Cameron Holding, Dan Coates, Bob Snider, Joey Cupido and Joel Dalgarno also scored.
Colorado (8-10) entered the playoffs having won three straight and four of seven since the club fired head coach Bob Hamley and two assistant coaches on March 4.
Calgary (12-6) had also been on a roll of late, finishing the season with six wins in it’s last seven games.
Tied 14-14 after three quarters, Colorado took the lead 41 seconds into the fourth quarter on Jones’ fifth goal of the night.
In the longest stretch of action without a goal, Calgary finally tied the game at 8:58 when Dickson took the ball to the net and put a shot over the shoulder of Ward.
It was the seventh time the game was tied.
The previous time these two teams met—the first game after the Mammoth coaching change—Colorado won 10-9 in overtime in Calgary. That was the half-time score on this night.
Calgary took its first lead of the night on the strength of three unanswered goals in the first six minutes of the third quarter.
The Mammoth’s troubles began when they were late returning to the field to start the second half. Assessed a delay of game penalty, Evans scored on the power play at 1:12 tying it 10-10.
Dickson fired a long, low shot past Ward at 3:49. Two minutes later, Shattler made it 12-10.
Colorado eventually got it back to 13-13 on Grant’s goal at 13:42, and after Evans restored the Roughnecks lead at 14:26, Holding tied it up once again 18 seconds after that.
After a relatively quiet first quarter in which the Mammoth took a 3-2 lead, the offences for both sides came out firing in a wild second quarter that saw the teams combined for 14 goals on 26 shots, with each scoring seven times.
Goals on three consecutive shots to open the second quarter gave the Mammoth a 6-3 lead and prompted Calgary coach Curt Malawsky to pull goalie Mike Poulin.
While the veteran returned to the game less than a minute later, the temporary breather seemed to work. Poulin stopped the next shot he faced and the Roughnecks responded by promptly scoring three goals in a 38-second span to tie it 6-6.
Calgary then went to the power play only to have momentum swing back the other way thanks to short-handed goals eight seconds apart from Cupido and Snider.
With the Mammoth up 10-8 and looking to increase their lead before the second quarter ended, Calgary got a pivotal short-handed goal from Dobbie, the NLL’s regular season scoring leader with 51. Dobbie’s goal was his third of the night, and it came with 19 seconds remaining in the half.
The final shots were 60-50 in favour of Calgary.
Notes: Roughnecks Geoff Snider left the game late in the third quarter with an injury. Calgary will host Edmonton on Saturday in the first of a two-game West division final. In a new format introduced this season, each team hosts one game. If each team wins once, a 10-minute mini game immediately follows the second game. If still tied, they’ll play sudden death overtime. In the East final, Buffalo will play Rochester.