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Rush Face Rivals with Postseason Hopes on the Line

March 12, 2009 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) Edmonton Rush

The Edmonton Rush will be looking to get back into the playoff picture when they host the arch-rival Calgary Roughnecks Friday night in National Lacrosse League action.

The Rush have dropped four of their last five games and fallen into sixth place in the NLL's West Division, one game behind fourth-place Minnesota. Calgary holds down top spot in the West with the second-best record in the entire NLL.

Just before entering the NLL All-Star Game break, the Rush lost 14-9 to Philadelphia - the club's second defeat in its last three home games. The Rush come into the matchup with Calgary struggling to find an offensive groove. Edmonton has the second-lowest goal total in the league having notched only 83 goals on the season while giving up 112, the highest total of the teams in the West Division.

Specialty teams aren't helping the Rush's cause either as the team ranks seventh on the power play at 46.8% (22 goals in 47 power play chances) and they have the league's worst penalty-killing at just 44.4% (20 goals against in 36 shorthanded situations).

This will be the second of three meetings this season between the Rush and Roughnecks. The clubs met in the Rush's first game of the year and Calgary escaped with a 10-9 victory in overtime on Curt Malawsky's winner. Dan Teat led the Rush attack with three goals and two assists while former Roughnecks Jason Wulder and Callum Crawford each popped in two goals for Edmonton.

Calgary holds an 8-3 advantage in the 11 all-time meetings between the teams although the Rush have earned two of their most-important franchise victories against the Roughnecks. Calgary won three of four meetings in the Rush's inaugural season of 2006 but Edmonton did win its only game of the year in Calgary as Cam Bergman scored with one second remaining to give the Rush a dramatic 12-11 win.

The Roughnecks took two of three games in 2007 but again the Rush pulled off a big win in Calgary as Chris Gill set a Rush team record by scoring six goals in a thrilling 13-12 decision. Last season, hometown hero Jimmy Quinlan potted four goals as the Rush captured an 11-9 win over the Roughnecks - their first win over Calgary at Rexall Place. The Roughnecks, though, did win the other two head-to-head contests during the season.

Although he has fallen from the league's top-10 scorers, Dan Teat continues to lead the Rush on the offensive front as he is the team-leader in points (35) and goals (17). Andy Secore is second on the Rush in points with 31 and is the top set-up man with 19 assists. Ryan Benesch is third in team scoring with 27 points. Chris McKay is the Rush's runaway leader in loose balls collection with 103 so far this season.

Rush goaltender Chris Levis is 10th in the league with an 11.74 goals-against average along with a .753 save-percentage.

The Roughnecks have a pair of stalwarts among their forwards as Josh Sanderson sits 10th in league scoring with 48 points, four ahead of veteran teammate Tracey Kelusky who is 12th in the NLL. Former Rush netminder Pat Campbell has posted a 4-2 record with the Roughnecks and is seventh in the league with a 10.81 goals-against average. Edmonton native Devan Wray, a standout defender for Calgary, has three assists on the year.

Stars Shine Bright: The Rush were well represented at this past weekend's NLL All-Star Game. Defender Ian Hawksbee had a good time playing in the offensive free-for-all as he collected three goals - two being unassisted markers - and two assists. Meanwhile, Dan Teat picked up two goals and two helpers in the game won 27-21 by the East.

Statistically Speaking: Calgary's power play is tops in the NLL moving at a 58.2% clip (32 goals in 55 power play opportunities). The Roughnecks' penalty-killing is seventh in the league at 52.8% (17 goals against in 36 shorthanded situations).

By The Numbers: This will be the Rush's fifth home game of the season and the club currently sits seventh in attendance with an average of 9,068.

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National Lacrosse League Stories from March 12, 2009


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