CALGARY -- Dane Dobbie stands 5-foot-8, but the Roughnecks forward has been a big contributor to Calgary's offence all season.
Saturday night was no different.
Dobbie scored three goals and assisted on another to lead Calgary to a 10-7 victory over the Rochester Knighthawks in the opening game of the National Lacrosse League's Champion's Cup final.
"You've got people that are probably a foot-and-a-half taller than him just trying to break his wrists," said Roughnecks coach Curt Malawsky. "They're not trying to dislodge the ball, they're trying to break his wrist and break his arm. You see at the end, the guy tried to take his head off. But all that does is fuel Dob's fire."
The NLL's leading goal scorer during the regular season with 51, Dobbie has a penchant for scoring the clutch goal. His third goal of the night Saturday, scored 2:07 into the fourth quarter, was his biggest of the game. It came after Rochester had reduced a 7-3 second quarter deficit to 7-6 entering the final 15 minutes.
Dobbie neatly finished off a tic-tac-toe passing sequence with Karsen Leung and Mike Carnegie to give Calgary a much needed cushion and fire up the 16,541 raucous fans at Scotiabank Saddledome.
"In the third quarter, we just tried to wear them down," Dobbie said. "The breaks weren't going our way, but I think we took a bite out of them. We worked hard, we got to the dirty errors and made their defence run a lot."
Three minutes later, Dobbie rang a shot off the post that was knocked in on the rebound by Carnegie.
"We've got to be better, moving our feet and moving the ball, I don't think we did that all that well tonight," said Rochester coach Mike Hasen. "But give them credit, they put us in spots where we weren't able to do that and (Mike) Poulin made those easy saves. Full value to them, they were good tonight."
Poulin said the game was an example of every player in the line-up contributing. He was especially proud of how the team played defensively.
"I gave up eight goals in a quarter against Edmonton a week ago so seven in a game -- I'll take it," said Poulin, who had 36 stops. "We did a fantastic job as a unit and it made my job a lot easier. When it was a one-goal game, I haven't seen us more calm out there than we were tonight.
"We kept our composure and we focused on the next shift."
Curtis Dickson and Scott Ranger had two goals each for Calgary, and Shawn Evans and Jeff Shattler also scored. Evans added four assists for a game-high five points.
Rochester, which has won the Champion's Cup the last two years, got two goals from Craig Point and one apiece from Joe Walters, Cory Vitarelli, Stephen Keogh, Cody Jamieson and Johnny Powless.
Game 2 goes next Saturday in Rochester with a 10-minute mini game to follow immediately after if the Knighthawks win to even up the series.
"By finishing in first place, we earned this opportunity to go back now to our home barn where it's a tough place to play," said Point. "We play good there, fans are nice and loud, just like it was tonight. It's our opportunity to go back and give it our all."
Both teams required the mini game to win their respective division semifinals. After losing the opener to Buffalo, Rochester -- first in the East Division at 14-4 -- rallied at home to take Game 2 and also capture the mini-game 2-1 in overtime.
Calgary -- second in the West during the regular season at 12-6 -- opened with a win at home, lost the second game in Edmonton, and rebounded to win the mini game 2-1.
Trailing 4-1 in the second quarter, Rochester got back into the game on goals 1:17 apart from Powless and Point. However, despite multiple chances, they were unable to push one more past Poulin to square it up.
Then, on a shift that fired up the crowd, Dobbie scored goals 34 seconds apart to restore a three-goal cushion at 6-3.
"What a game our defence played. They won us this game and our offence will pick up the pace for next game and hopefully win that game for us," said Dobbie, the Roughnecks new leader with 62 career playoff points, passing Tracey Kelusky (60).
While he looks forward to next weekend, he knows it isn't going to be easy.
"It's a real tough buiding to play in, they're first place for a reason," Dobbie said. "It's going to be a tough game but we've got to bring it, plain and simple. We've got to be better next weekend than this weekend and that was our goal all season is to improve every game."
Notes: Geoff Snider (knee) was unable to suit up for the Roughnecks. He was hurt three weeks ago in the opening game of the playoffs... Missing for Rochester was veteran Dan Dawson, who was shaken up on a heavy hit last Saturday... It was the first ever playoff meeting between the two teams... Rochester has won four NLL titles while Calgary has won two.