Edmonton Rush 2012 Season NotesMay 25, 2012 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) Edmonton Rush
The Rush claimed their first West Division crown this season, and although they fell short in dropping the Champion's Cup final to the Rochester Knighthawks this past weekend, the '12 campaign will go down as the best season since the team's inception in 2006.
Edmonton finished the NLL regular season with a 6-10 mark, and entered the playoffs as the lowest-ranked team, but wound up piquing at just the right time. The league-low offense ignited in the playoffs, and with a continuation of one of the NLL's stingiest defenses, the Rush were able to knock off the heavily-favored Calgary Roughnecks in the West Semifinal, and then demolish the higher-seeded Minnesota Swarm in the West Final. What made the results even more impressive was the fact that both victories came on the road in hostile territory.
All in all, 2012 was a banner year for the Rush, from numerous record-breaking performances, to league-wide recognition for individual accomplishments, to a berth in the Champion's Cup for the first time in team history.
The 2012 NLL regular season began with a split for the Rush over the first two weekends of play as they dropped their season- and home-opener 13-12 in a thriller against the Colorado Mammoth before smashing the Washington Stealth 16-5 in their first road game of the season. Although soured by the loss, Shawn Williams' debut with the Rush was a standout performance as the veteran set team records for points (9) and assists (8) in a game. A week later in Washington, Corey Small matched Williams' record-setting point outburst with a nine-point effort (2 goals, 7 assists) against the Stealth.
The Rush went through a tough three-game losing streak after the win in Washington, including a 10-9 OT loss in Minnesota, and another setback in the Battle of Alberta against the Calgary Roughnecks. Edmonton snapped its losing streak with a crucial 12-10 home-floor win over Philadelphia only to fall in each of its next three games punctuated by two more losses to Calgary.
The Rush finally put a winning streak together as they notched a pair of one-goal victories in taking down Washington 10-9 at Rexall Place, and then getting an overtime winner from Aaron Wilson in a 9-8 decision over Minnesota.
After a loss in Toronto, the Rush put together another two-game winning streak - one which locked up the final playoff spot in the West Division. Edmonton won a critical home-floor encounter with the Buffalo Bandits, taking the game 11-8, and then capitalized on a six-goal third quarter to knock off Colorado 14-11 in Denver.
Edmonton entered the playoffs, however, on a down slide as the Rush lost for the fourth time this season against Calgary before falling in a thrilling 12-11 matchup at home against Toronto.
Regular Season Notes: Shawn Williams finished the campaign as the leading scorer with 68 points including 52 assists - the sixth-most in the NLL ... Zack Greer was the Rush's top shooter with 31 goals ... The Rush handed out their team awards at the regular-season finale with goaltender Aaron Bold taking the Team MVP award. The Top Defender Award went to Kyle Rubisch while Derek Suddons was named the Top Transition Player. Other awards went to Shawn Williams (Top Scorer), Ryan Dilks (Community Service), Jimmy Quinlan (Unsung Hero), and John Lintz (Fans' Choice).
Prior to 2012, the Rush's only other playoff appearance came in 2010, and just as it was two years ago, the Rush met the arch-rival Calgary Roughnecks in the West Semifinal. And just like two years earlier, the Rush stunned the Roughnecks.
Ryan Ward set a team record with an 11-point game (5 goals, 6 assists) in leading the Rush to a shocking 19-11 victory over the Roughnecks. Corey Small also had five goals for the Rush, marking the first time in club history that two players had racked up five goals in the same game. Also getting in on the furious Rush attack were Aaron Wilson (1 goal, 5 assists), Shawn Williams (1 goal, 4 assists), Zack Greer (2 goals, 3 assists), Tom Johnson with a hat trick, and singles from Jimmy Quinlan and John Lafontaine.
Coming into the game, the Rush had lost eight straight regular-season games to Calgary, and 13 of the last 15 encounters, but yet are an amazing 2-0 in playoff meetings.
In their last appearance in the West Final back in 2010, the Rush came up short by just a goal, falling to Washington in overtime. This time around, the Rush were leaving no doubt to the outcome as they smashed the Minnesota Swarm 15-3 to claim the West title and a spot in the Champion's Cup Final.
Again, it was Ryan Ward at the heart of the Rush attack (4 goals, 3 assists) alongside another former Swarm star Aaron Wilson (3 goals, 4 assists). Also contributing for the Rush were Shawn Williams (1 goal, 5 assists), Corey Small with a hat trick, two goals from Zack Greer, and singles from Derek Suddons and Ryan Dilks.
The Champion's Cup was on the verge of heading to Edmonton as the Rush etched a 5-1 at halftime, but the Rochester Knighthawks, playing on their home floor, took over in the second half en route to a 9-6 verdict and their third NLL title. Zack Greer, with a pair, led the Rush offense with singles going to Ryan Ward, Jarrett Toll, Aaron Wilson, and Chris Corbeil.
Playoff Notes: The Rush ended the playoffs averaging 13.3 goals per game, after averaging only 10.4 goals per game in the regular season leading to a league-low 167 goals ... The playoffs were a coming-out party for second-year pro Jarrett Toll. The defender led the NLL with 34 loose balls, including 16 in the West Final, and he was tops with 40 faceoff wins, including 17 against Minnesota ... The Rush chased two of the league's best goaltenders in the playoffs. First, the Rush shooters forced Calgary netminder Mike Poulin to the bench in the West Semifinal, and then Minnesota starter Tyler Carlson was gone after less than nine minutes of the West Final ... The Rush dominated the playoff stats across the board with Ryan Ward topping the list in points (21), goals (10) and assists (11). Corey Small and Aaron Wilson tied for third in points with 14, Small was second in goals with eight, Zack Greer fourth in goals with six, and Shawn Williams was tops in assists with 11. Kyle Rubisch led the league in post-season forced turnovers with nine with teammates Chris Corbeil and Ryan Dilks both ending up fourth with five forced turnovers. Aaron Bold was the leader in playoff goaltending as he registered a 7.69 goals-against average and finished second with 104 saves.
The Rush team record for points in a game was broken twice this season, first by Shawn Williams who turned in a double-record setting performance in his first game with Edmonton. Williams, who was acquired in a major off-season trade with Rochester, set a Rush record with nine points in the season-opener against Colorado and in the same game set a new team mark for assists in a game with eight.
Just one week later, Corey Small tied Williams' new mark when the Rush toppled Washington. Last season's leading scorer also hit the nine-point mark on two goals and seven assists.
But eclipsing both those marks was Ryan Ward, whose 11-point effort in the West Semifinal against Calgary was truly the best individual performance in team history. Ward led the Rush in the stunning upset of the Roughnecks with five goals and six assists. Ward, Small and Ryan Powell had all previously held the Rush team record for points in a game with eight.
Williams did hold onto one record, though, as he finished the year with 52 assists, nine more that Ryan Ward had previously turned in during the 2010 season.
The Rush team record for goals in a game was equaled this season as for the second time in franchise history a player turned in a "sock trick' - lacrosse's reference to six goals in a game. Scott Evans hit for six against Calgary, matching Chris Gill who also did the deed against Calgary during the 2007 season.
In a truly breakout first season, Aaron Bold shattered the Rush record book in almost every goaltending category. He established new marks for minutes played (951), goals-against average (10.47), total saves (571), points by a goaltender (14), and playoff wins (2).
The Rush were involved in the NLL's second-longest game in league history when they played over 72 minutes in a 10-9 OT loss at Minnesota.
The NLL playoffs also saw the Rush set a handful of team records on top of Ryan Ward's 11-point game. Tom Johnson tied a Rush team record for goals in a game by a transition/defender with his hat trick in the West Semifinal. The 19-11 win for Edmonton against Calgary in the West Semifinal set a Rush team record for most goals in a game and victory.
In the West Final, the Rush's lopsided 15-3 win over Minnesota set a team record for fewest goals allowed in a game, and the 12-goal spread set a Rush record for the largest margin of victory. The 11-goal first half against the Swarm set a Rush playoff record for goals in a first half, and also matched the season-high set during the Rush's 16-5 win over Washington.
In the midst of several big trades this past off-season, the Rush acquired Kyle Rubisch via a Dispersal Draft, and he was arguably the best of the new arrivals.
In just his second NLL season, Rubisch was named was the NLL's Defensive Player of the Year and earned a spot on the NLL First All-Pro Team. Rubisch led the league with 43 forced turnovers, played in all 16 regular-season games and all three playoff games, and was named the league's Defensive Player of the Week on two occasions. In the playoffs, Rubisch led all players with nine forced turnovers.
Rubisch also finished the year first on the Rush and sixth in the league with 151 loose balls and he set career-highs with four goals and six assists for 10 points.
Shawn Williams further guaranteed himself a spot in the NLL Hall of Fame during an outstanding first season as a member of the Rush.
Williams led the Rush in scoring this season, and finished the year sixth in the NLL in assists with 52, setting a new Rush team record for assists in a season. During the season, he eclipsed the 1,000-career point plateau, and set a new league ironman streak currently at 196 consecutive games.
Williams climbed to fifth on the NLL's all-time list of goal scorers with 411, and remains sixth in league history in games played (226) and total points (1,050), and fourth all-time in assists (636).
Coming to Edmonton alongside Shawn Williams in the trade from Rochester was goaltender Aaron Bold who was looking to become a starter in the NLL for the first time. He made the most of his opportunity by having a remarkable season.
Bold, who represented the Rush at the NLL All-Star Game, was named the Rush's Team MVP for the regular season as he established new team records for minutes played (951), goals-against average (10.47), total saves (571), points by a goaltender (14), and playoff wins (2).
Bold had an outstanding playoffs as well leading the league with a paltry 7.69 goals-against average, and capping the campaign by being named to the NLL Second All-Pro Team.
2012 NLL ALL-STAR GAME
The NLL's annual All-Star Game was well-represented by the Edmonton Rush. NLL ironman Shawn Williams led the Rush ensemble alongside goaltender Aaron Bold, defender Kyle Rubisch, and transition Derek Suddons ... All four players had an impact on the game and helped the West defeat the East 20-18 in Buffalo. Williams notched four points on two goals and two assists, Suddons registered three assists, Rubisch scooped a game-high 26 loose balls, and Bold mustered 23 saves.
The off-season will see the focus on the 2012 NLL Entry Draft another point of history for the team where the Rush hold the first overall pick.. Date and location to be determined.
National Lacrosse League Stories from May 25, 2012
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- Edmonton Rush 2012 Season Notes - Edmonton Rush
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