Shawn Evans scored his first goal of the game and 10th point of the night to give the Calgary Roughnecks a 12-11 overtime victory over the Edmonton Rush.
The win means that the Roughnecks, Rush and Washington Stealth all finish with identical 9-7 records on the season, but Calgary takes first place by virtue of the tie-breaker system.
The Rush slides down to third seed in the West with the loss.
After being benched for four straight games, Calgary’s Daryl Veltman was called back into action following a leg injury to Dane Dobbie in last weekend’s action. Veltman took full advantage of the opportunity, scoring a season-high five goals and matching a season-high eight points, also collected against Edmonton in early March.
With a performance like that, you can probably pencil Veltman’s name into the lineup for next week’s playoff game right now.
Jeff Shattler added a goal and six assists in the winning cause.
Edmonton opened the scoring with two quick goals in the first two minutes before Veltman answered back with his first of the game. But it was all Edmonton for the remainder of the quarter as the Rush scored three more goals late.
The Rush would add yet another to start the second quarter to extend their lead to five before Calgary finally began to mount their comeback.
A four-goal run by the Roughnecks would get them back in the game and the Edmonton lead would fluctuate between one and two goals until the 13:21 mark of the fourth quarter when Veltman cashed in a feed from Evans and Nolan Heavenor to tie the game and force the overtime period.
Evans would finally complete the comeback at 10:05 of the overtime period, making this the fifth-longest game in NLL history.
Of concern for the Roughnecks in the second half was Scott Ranger falling awkwardly and sustaining what appeared to be a serious chest injury in a collision as he was going down. He remained on the floor for several minutes and had to be helped off the field.
But Ranger was back in the game in overtime and fed Evans the pass that led to the game winner.
After a slow start, Mike Poulin was outstanding in net for the Roughnecks, turning aside 42 shots in the win, including several clutch saves in the overtime frame en route to game MVP honors.
Aaron Bold also had an excellent game for Edmonton, stopping 38 shots.
Nine Rush players contributed goals in the losing effort, including Ryan Ward, who added four assists, and rookie Mark Matthews whose 38th goals of the season set a new franchise record for goals in a season.
The Roughnecks next battle will be at home against the Colorado Mammoth next Saturday. Calgary is 2-1 this year against the Mammoth and will be looking to get past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since their Champion’s Cup year in 2009.
Edmonton will travel to Everett, WA to face the Stealth next Saturday. The Rush have gone 2-1 against Washington this year and will be focused on getting to the Champion’s Cup game for the second year in a row.