So when the Calgary Roughnecks were awarded a penalty shot down by a goal with less than a minute remaining in Game 1 of the NLL West final against the Edmonton Rush, they took full advantage of the opportunity.
Curtis Dickson tied the game for Calgary with 22 seconds left on the clock, and Jeff Shattler's goal 46 seconds into overtime gave the Roughnecks the thrilling 12-11 victory.
"That's probably only the second or third (penalty shot) that I've seen since I've been in the league," said Dickson, who added that although it was a "nerve-wracking" experience, he felt confident making the play.
"I've been in this situation before. We need a goal late to tie it up or get the win. I just did what I know how to do. I saw my spot, took a shot at the opening, and lucky enough it went in."
Leading 11-10, Edmonton had the ball in the Calgary end, and the Roughnecks had an empty net after pulling their goalie earlier. But with the play along the boards by the benches, the Rush were assessed a rarely called illegal substitution penalty.
"I guess we had too many and it's the last two minutes so it's a penalty shot, which is fine. I don't have a problem with that except for the fact they had about nine guys on the floor too," said Edmonton coach Derek Keenan. "If they're going to call it on us, they should have called it on them too, or not call it. It was ridiculous."
Shattler, who had two goals on the night, was equally amazed.
"That call that they made was pretty gutsy," he said. "Too many men with 22 seconds left. I don't know many refs that would make that call."
Shattler showed off his athleticism on the winning goal.
After his original shot missed the net, the ball bounced high in the air off the end boards. Shattler, who saw it the whole way, raced after it, leaped high in the air and in one motion flung the ball into the top corner past Edmonton goaltender Aaron Bold.
"When I looked at Boldie, he was still looking the other way so I thought if I get up there fast enough, I've got a chance," said Shattler. "I shot it before I even looked at the net."
He didn't have to look to know it went in as a deafening roar erupted from the Scotiabank Saddledome crowd of 13,618.
"Tonight was an amazing experience, it was unreal," said Shattler.
Greg Harnett, Shawn Evans, Karsen Leung, Daryl Veltman, Dane Dobbie and Scott Ranger also scored for Calgary.
Edmonton's offence was led by Mark Matthew, who scored three goals. Robert Church and Zack Greer each had a pair, while John Lintz, Curtis Knight, Riley Loewen and Nik Bilic added singles.
The two teams will play Game 2 of the West final next Friday in Edmonton. Should the Rush win that game, a 10-minute mini game will immediately follow to decide who will advance, with sudden death overtime if still tied after that.
"If we play as well as we did tonight with a couple little adjustments, we'll have a good opportunity next week for sure. We have to worry about that first one and then go from there with that quirky 10-minute deal," said Keenan.
"When push comes to shove, you can't lose those one-goal games like that being up 5-1 and not putting the foot on the pedal," said Matthews. "We didn't do that and they came out with a lot of energy in the second half and beat us."
After giving up the game's first goal, Edmonton scored the next five and were cruising along nicely early in the second quarter when they were held to one goal on a five-minute power play. Calgary scored three straight right after that and the game was close the rest of the way.
Edmonton led 7-5 at half-time and Calgary was up 9-8 after three quarters.
"I thought we played well enough to win the game, to be honest," said Keenan. "I thought we played a real good game right from the start to finish. In all areas of our game I thought we were good and it came down to a couple of breaks that they got and they got the win. It was a tough one."
Notes: Edmonton won three of the four meetings during the regular season ... Calgary was without veteran Geoff Snider (lower body), injured last weekend. Snider is also the Roughneck's main face-off specialist. Garrett McIntosh took most of the draws after only taking six face-offs all season ... Edmonton won the two previous playoff meetings between the provincial rivals, both wins (2010, 2012) were upsets in Calgary.