February 1, 2013 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Edmonton Rush
Edmonton, AB---The Edmonton Rush will be out to end an eight-game losing skid in regular-season play against the arch-rival Calgary Roughnecks Saturday night on the Crystal Glass Field at Rexall Place in Edmonton.
The Rush have lost eight consecutive meetings in NLL regular-season action against their provincial rival, dropping back-to-back season series 4-0 in both 2011 and 2012. Edmonton has not defeated Calgary in regular-season play since a 14-10 win in 2010. The Roughnecks have won 13 of the last 15 regular-season matchups with the Rush and hold a 20-4 overall regular-season record against Edmonton.
But the Rush have held a distinctive edge in playoff encounters with the Roughnecks. After eliminating the Roughnecks in the 2010 West Division semifinal, the Rush did it again last season, bouncing the favored Roughnecks 19-11 en route to claiming the franchise's first West Division title and reaching the Champion's Cup final.
Edmonton's second straight playoff win over Calgary marked a record-setting performance for the Rush franchise and its players. Ryan Ward set a Rush team record with 11 points in a game (regular season or playoffs) coming on five goals and six assists, while Corey Small equaled Ward for the team record of most goals scored in a playoff game with five. The result also set a Rush single-game record for goals in a game, eclipsing the previous high of 18. Small finished with eight points, while Zack Greer (2 goals, 3 assists) registered a five-point game for the Rush. Even goaltender Aaron Bold got in on the attack as he picked up three assists.
Tonight's game will mark the first of four meetings between Edmonton and Calgary during the 2013 regular season. The Roughnecks will host next Saturday's return matchup, and again play host to the Rush on March 3 with the Rush's regular-season finale coming against the Roughnecks on April 20. All four games will be airing on Sportsnet One.
Currently, the Rush are in a three-way tie with Colorado and Minnesota, trailing the division-leading Roughnecks and second-place Washington Stealth. The Rush, Mammoth, and Swarm all have a game in-hand on Colorado and two games on Calgary. Edmonton slipped back in the division race by falling 12-10 to Washington last Friday night at Rexall Place.
After downing the Stealth with a convincing 18-10 in Everett the previous week, the Rush jumped out to a good start in the return matchup, but faded down the stretch scoring just three goals in the second half. Corey Small guided the Rush offense with three goals, while Ryan Ward added a pair with singles going to Jarrett Davis, Mark Matthews, Jimmy Quinlan, Alex Turner, and rookie Mike Burke with his first NLL goal. Matthews added four assists, while fellow rookie Curtis Knight and Davis each picked up three helpers.
Mark Matthews leads the Rush in goals (8), assists (11), and points (19), with Corey Small is second in points (16) and assists (10), and tied with Ryan Ward for second in goals with six each. Ward and Curtis Knight are third and fourth, respectively, in Rush scoring and both are tied for third with eight assists.
Calgary's Shawn Evans is tops in the NLL with 31 points, and is ranked second in goals (13) and third in assists (18).
Rush vs. Roughnecks - Season-by-Season Glance
*19-11 Rush win at Calgary (Ryan Ward sets Rush record with 11-point game)
9-6 Roughnecks win at Edmonton (Shawn Evans racks up four goals and two assists)
16-9 Roughnecks win at Calgary (Shawn Evans pots five goals including penalty shot tally)
13-10 Roughnecks win at Edmonton (Curtis Dickson with four goals and three assists)
12-8 Roughnecks win at Calgary (Curtis Dickson nets hat trick plus two assists)
*denotes playoff game
19-14 Roughnecks win at Calgary (Jeff Shattler totals nine points with one goal and eight assists)
15-11 Roughnecks win at Edmonton (Dane Dobbie collects three goals and six assists)
12-11 Roughnecks OT win at Calgary (Mike Scherman pots the game-winner)
12-11 Roughnecks win at Edmonton (Jeff Shattler notches hat trick plus five assists)
14-11 Rush win at Edmonton (Dean Hill notches hat trick and adds one assist)
13-8 Roughnecks win at Calgary (Josh Sanderson picks up three goals and three assists)
14-13 Roughnecks OT win at Edmonton (Josh Sanderson earns hat trick including game-winner)
*11-7 Rush win at Calgary (Ryan Ward notches nine points including eight assists)
*denotes playoff game
10-9 Roughnecks OT win at Calgary (Curt Malawsky notches the game-winner)
22-10 Roughnecks win at Edmonton (Dane Dobbie collects 11 points including seven goals)
14-13 Roughnecks win at Edmonton (Tracey Kelusky racks up eight points including four goals)
11-9 Rush win at Edmonton (Jimmy Quinlan pots four goals plus one assist)
18-7 Roughnecks win at Calgary (Kaleb Toth registers nine points including four goals)
12-8 Roughnecks win at Edmonton (Curt Malawsky registers four goals and one assist)
13-12 Roughnecks win at Edmonton (Kaleb Toth and Lewis Ratcliff each with four points)
13-12 Rush win at Calgary (Chris Gill sets club record with six goals)
17-11 Roughnecks win at Edmonton (Tracey Kelusky collects two goals and seven assists)
11-9 Roughnecks win at Calgary (Lewis Ratcliff scores five goals)
12-9 Roughnecks win at Edmonton (Kaleb Toth and Tracey Kelusky each with seven points)
12-11 Rush win at Calgary (Pat Campbell earns player of the game with 54 saves)
16-9 Roughnecks win at Edmonton (Lewis Ratcliff notches four goals and two assists)
Statistically Speaking: The Rush are tops in the NLL with only 32 goals against the season, but they are last in the league having scored only 37 goals. Calgary is second overall with 58 goals scored and are third in the West Division with 46 goals allowed ... The Rush and Roughnecks are both 1-1 vs. West Division opponents so far this season ... Edmonton's power play is clicking at a 78.6% clip while the penalty killing sits at 50.0% ... The Rush have outscored their opponents 10-7 in the first and fourth quarters this season, but have been outscored 9-6 in third-quarter play highlighted by last week's 3-0 blanking by Washington ... Brett Mydske leads the Rush with 20 loose balls, ahead of Kyle Rubisch, Jeremy Thompson, and Chris Corbeil who all have 16. Overall the Rush are trailing their opponents 191-179 in loose ball collection so far this season ... Kyle Rubisch and Brett Mydske are tied for top spot on the Rush with five forced turnovers - one up on Chris Corbeil ... Jarrett Toll is Edmonton's top faceoff man at 13-for-29 (44.8%) ... Calgary's Shawn Evans is second in the NLL with six power-play goals.
By The Numbers: Following on first-year sensations Mark Matthews, Curtis Knight, and Michael Burke (who got his first NLL goal last week against Washington), the Rush are inserting rookie Michael Cudmore into the lineup. The six-foot-two, 210-pound defender from the University of Hartford takes the roster spot of Tom Johnson who was released ... Rush goalie Aaron Bold is third in the NLL with a 10.90 goals-against average and sits with 97 saves and a .752 save-percentage. Backup Brodie Macdonald made his first appearance of the season against the Stealth, coming on in relief of Bold and making 10 saves but getting saddled with the loss ... Calgary netminding counterpart Mike Poulin is fourth in the league with a 11.22 goals-against average, and is ranked third in saves with 156 ... After picking up majors for fighting and illegal crosscheck plus a game misconduct last week, Kyle Rubisch leads the Rush with penalty minutes ... Roughnecks tough guy Geoff Snider is proving to be a unique triple threat as he leads the NLL with 11 forced turnovers, and is ranked second in both loose balls (56) and faceoff wins (84). The only player ahead of him in both categories is his brother Bob Snider of Washington.
Quotes from the Rush GM/Head Coach
"The most important thing is we've been outworked by them and outrun by them. They've scored a ton of power play, transition, and shorthanded goals against us and that means we've been outrun. The number one thing is to not get outworked and outran."
- Keenan on how the Rush solve their regular-season woes against Calgary
"Our focus will be on not allowing him to create offense off of faceoffs. Possession is secondary to allowing goals."
- Keenan on how the Rush will deal with Calgary's faceoff kingpin Geoff Snider
"TJ did a good job filling in last week with Zack injured but Zack is back and we need to start developing young backdoor guys."
- Keenan on the release of veteran Tom Johnson and inserting rookie Michael Cudmore into the lineup
* "Homes by Avi Battle of Alberta Lacrosse Cup" begins Saturday, February 1, 2013. The four game Edmonton/Calgary series has a trophy on the line, The trophy will be presented at the final home game on April 20th. The winning city will receive a monetary donation to the KidsSport charity in their city.
**Booster Juice Presents Kids 12 and under FREE with the purchase of regular adult ticket