With Tracey Kelusky in the lineup this season, the Calgary Roughnecks have a winning record and they hope that trend continues.
“He’s been huge for us,” Calgary coach Troy Cordingley said. “I just can’t say enough about him.”
Kelusky scored twice and added five assists to lead the ‘Necks to a 15-13 road win over the Colorado Mammoth last Saturday in the opening round of the National Lacrosse League playoffs. When the Portland LumberJax upset the San Jose Stealth on the road the next day, the Riggers earned a home playoff date at the Saddledome this Saturday night.
“I knew all along that once all the pieces were back … that we were going to be fine,” said Kelusky. “Everybody on our team thought the same thing and here we are on a four-game winning streak looking to make it five against Portland.”
If the Roughnecks beat the LumberJax, they’ll travel east to face either the Buffalo Bandits or the New York Titans for the Champion’s Cup.
Kelusky started the season with a goal and an assist in a 10-9 loss to the Mammoth in Denver on Dec. 29 before sustaining his concussion during a practice. He then missed eight straight games as the Roughnecks struggled out of the gate with a 3-6 record.
“It’s tough watching,” said the Calgary captain, “especially knowing that if I’m in the lineup and if I’m healthy that I could contribute one or two times offensively.”
He returned to the lineup on March 8 and had two goals and four assists as the Riggers beat the Jax 15-12. Following a 11-6 loss to the Mammoth on March 14, Kelusky sat out one more game before he returned for the final four games of the season.
“As a team we never stopped believing that once we’re healthy we’re going to make a run at this thing and here we are,” said Kelusky, noting that the return of goalie Steve ‘Chugger’ Dietrich from a concussion also helped. “Even when I was out and we weren’t winning, I had never written us off. The guys in the locker room and myself never lost faith.”