Playoff fever

By Russ Dyck

The National Lacrosse League playoff race is a hard road to travel to the championship. One loss anywhere along the way and you’re out. That’s it. You don’t have to lose four games to lose the series–there is no series, just a single game each round.

That meant all the Calgary Roughnecks needed was a three game winning streak, stretching from Sun., Apr. 18 to Fri., May 7. And that’s exactly what they did, ending the season at the Saddledome in spectacular fashion, as 2004 NLL Champions.

Goaltender Curtis Palidwor was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, a well deserved honour. Palidwor made save after save in spectacular fashion throughout the night, keeping the Roughnecks in the game.

Even though I haven’t had the chance to attend a Flames playoff game yet, I feel confident saying the sell-out crowd cheering the Roughnecks on was just as loud, if not louder, than those at Flames games. Granted, it’s mostly the same fans anyway.

It’s amazing that even after winning the NLL championship trophy, the Champion’s Cup, the Calgary Roughnecks don’t get a single day’s break from playing second fiddle to the Flames. It is amazing how far the Flames have gone–from being one of the worst teams in the National Hockey League over the last 10 years to the Western Conference Finals–but the Roughnecks are the best team in their league, and they have the trophy to prove it.

Hockey in June?

The Flames are on quite a roll, the kind of roll that makes people crazy. They won the first two games of their series against the San Jose Sharks at the HP Pavillion (AKA the Shark Tank) and Flames fans are already predicting a sweep, which would be cool, but unlikely.

The thing I find interesting is that since Jarome Iginla has been covered so well, other Flames have been stepping up and performing in all-star form. It’s that kind of team play and dedication that brings home championships.

Here’s hoping it continues. Go Flames go!

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