February 17, 2017 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Saskatchewan Rush
Colorado Mammoth (4-3) at Saskatchewan Rush (4-2)
February 18th, 2017
SaskTel Centre, Saskatoon SK
Hot on the heels of last weekend\'s offensive explosion in Rochester, the Saskatchewan Rush will look to run their winning streak to five games as they host their rivals from the NLL\'s West Division, the Colorado Mammoth.
With their 21-12 lambasting of the Knighthawks last Saturday in upstate New York, the Rush moved into sole possession of first place in the West, but just one-half game up on the Mammoth. Colorado kept pace as they dodged by the Vancouver Stealth 10-9 in overtime last Sunday.
This game will mark the first meeting between the Rush and Mammoth since their blockbuster trade this past off-season. In the deal, Saskatchewan acquired two-time All Pro Adam Jones plus a second-round pick in the 2017 Entry Draft in exchange for Zack Greer and the ninth overall pick in the 2016 draft. Saturday\'s game against Colorado also marks the start of a two-game homestand for the Rush, who will face opposition from the West Division in their next six games.
After going 0-8 against Colorado during their first three years in the NLL, the Rush have won six of the last seven against the Mammoth and now have an all-time record of 15-17 against Colorado
Last season, the Rush took three of four games from Colorado. Saskatchewan\'s two-game sweep of a home-and-home weekend series late in the 2016 season clinched first place in the West. In the first game of the doubleheader, the Rush scored six times in the fourth quarter to blow open a tight game and go on to win 11-5. Ben McIntosh paced the Rush attack with four goals. Robert Church added a pair for Saskatchewan with singles going to Kyle Rubisch, Jarrett Davis, Ryan Dilks, Mark Matthews and Zack Greer. Both teams flew to Saskatoon on the same flight to avoid a winter snowstorm in the Denver area, but the Rush were unkind hosts as they scored six goals in the third quarter this time on their way to an 11-8 victory before a sold-out crowd of 15,027 at SaskTel Centre. Ben McIntosh and Curtis Knight each potted hat tricks in the win with singles notched by Robert Church, Jarrett Davis, Mark Matthews, Jeremy Thompson, and Zack Greer.
The Rush captured their first home-turf victory by beating the Mammoth 12-10 last January. Mark Matthews scored the last of his four goals to tie the game 10-10, and Robert Church potted the game-winner with Chris Corbeil adding a shorthanded tally to put the game away late in the fourth. Zack Greer picked up three goals and two assists for Saskatchewan which also got single markers from Jarrett Davis, Adrian Sorichetti, and Ben McIntosh.
Colorado took the next matchup a month later 9-7 as the Mammoth broke open a tight game with five goals in the third quarter. Jarrett Davis, with a pair, Curtis Knight, Robert Church, Mark Matthews, Zack Greer, and Ben McIntosh did the scoring for the Rush.
Last Saturday in Rochester, Robert Church (4 goals, 7 assists) and Mark Matthews (4 goals, 6 assists) combined for 21 points as the Rush smashed the home team 21-12 for their ninth consecutive regular-season win over the Knighthawks. The Rush scored 10 straight goals at one point during the game, and reached the 20-plus goal mark in a single game for just the second time in franchise history. Curtis Knight, Adam Jones, Marty Dinsdale, and Ben McIntosh each scored twice for the Rush, with singles going to Mike Messenger, Chris Corbeil, Ryan Dilks, Adrian Sorichetti, and Matt Hossack.
Rush vs. Mammoth - Season-by-Season Glance
11-8 Rush win (Ben McIntosh and Curtis Knight each collect hat tricks)
11-5 Rush win (Ben McIntosh scored four goals)
9-7 Mammoth win (Dillon Ward totals 47 saves)
12-10 Rush win (Mark Matthews racked up six points including four goals)
13-10 Rush win (Mark Matthews & Matthew Dinsdale both with seven-point games)
13-12 Rush win (Mark Matthews notches nine points including four goals)
11-7 Rush win (Mark Matthews & Zack Greer both with four-goal games)
10-8 Mammoth win (John Grant Jr. paces attack with four goals)
12-11 Rush win (Cory Conway registers six points including five assists)
17-6 Rush win (Mark Matthews & Zack Greer each score five goals)
13-10 Rush win (Curtis Knight tallies three goals and three assists)
9-7 Mammoth win (Tye Belanger makes 48 saves)
14-7 Rush win (Mark Matthews tops Rush scoring with five goals)
14-11 Rush win (Zack Greer leads Rush with two goals and one assist)
11-7 Mammoth win (Adam Jones, John Grant Jr. and Jordan McBride all notch hat tricks)
13-12 Mammoth win (John Grant Jr. leads with five goals and four assists)
13-6 Mammoth win
14-13 Rush win (Scott Evans leads the way with four goals and two assists)
7-6 Mammoth win (John Grant notches two goals and two assists)
14-13 Rush win (Ryan Ward scores four goals and adds three assists)
13-9 Rush win (Ryan Ward notches hat trick plus four assists)
14-10 Mammoth win (Jamie Shewchuk collects nine points including four goals)
11-9 Rush win (Ryan Benesch has eight-point night featuring five assists)
10-9 Rush win (Callum Crawford nets four goals and adds two assists)
10-9 Mammoth win (Jamie Shewchuk scores twice and adds two assists)
14-11 Mammoth win (Dan Carey pots hat trick plus three assists)
15-4 Mammoth win (Jamie Shewchuk notches seven points)
13-8 Mammoth win (Jamie Shewchuk produces seven points)
16-9 Mammoth win (Jamie Shewchuk notches hat trick plus two assists)
16-7 Mammoth win (Dan Carey leads with two goals and three assists)
15-10 Mammoth win (Dan Stroup collects six points including hat trick)
13-7 Mammoth win (Ben Prepchuk racks up six points including four helpers)
2016 Rush vs. Mammoth Head to Head
Mark Matthews - 7 goals, 8 assists a0; John Grant - 2 goal, 4 assists
Robert Church - 5 goals, 6 xa0; Jeremy Noble - 1 goal, 4 assists
Zack Greer - 6 goals, 7 ; Callum Crawford - 5 goals, 11 assists
Ben McIntosh - 9 goals, 3 ; Adam Jones - 4 goals, 6 assists
Aaron Bold - 138 0; Dillon Ward - 173 saves
The Trade: It was the biggest deal of the past off-season when the Saskatchewan Rush traded Zack Greer and the ninth overall pick in the 2016 Entry Draft to the Colorado Mammoth in exchange for Adam Jones and a second-round pick in the 2017 Entry Draft. It wasn\'t an easy move for the Rush to make as Greer was the team\'s all-time leader in goals (184) and second in points (317). But coming to the Rush was another top-flight offensive talent in Jones, a former 50-goal scorer, two-time All-Pro, and former Rookie of the Year. Both players are paying dividends for the new teams. Greer has 13 goals and 14 assists for 27 points, while Jones has nine goals and 15 assists for 24 points, and also leads Rush forwards in loose ball scoops and forced turnovers.
Statistically Speaking: The Rush\'s dynamic duo of Mark Matthews and Robert Church combined for 21 points against Rochester last weekend. Matthews now sits second in the NLL with 46 points, and is tied with Church for fifth in goals with 17. Matthews is also second with 29 assists, while Church has moved into eighth in scoring with 36 points ... Former Rush and now Mammoth Callum Crawford is fifth in league scoring with 39 points ... Saskatchewan boasts the number-one ranked power play in the NLL at 65.8% (25-for-38). Robert Church leads the league with 12 power-play goals, while Matthews is tied for first with 15 power-play assists, and Adam Jones is tied for eighth with seven power-play assists ... The Rush penalty kill is ranked fifth at 48.6% ... Colorado has the fourth-best power play at 58.1% but the Mammoth\'s penalty kill is a lowly eighth at just 34.5% although they have scored five shorthanded goals ... Rush transition Jeremy Thompson went 18-for-29 on faceoffs last weekend against Rochester and currently sits third in the league with 79 faceoff wins, two better than Colorado\'s Dan Coates. With Thompson and Mike Messenger (3-for-4) in the penalty box against the K-Hawks, Rush rookie Matt Hossack was an impressive 3-for-4 on draws ... Colorado\'s Cameron Holding is third in the league with 58 loose ball scoops with teammate Robert Hope right behind with 55. Saskatchewan\'s Jeremy Thompson is fifth with 53 ... Mammoth speedster Joey Cupido is tied with teammate Greg Downing for second in the league with 13 forced turnovers, and he is also at the top in scoring by defencemen with eight points (tied for second) and five goals (tied for first) ... Saskatchewan\'s Ryan Dilks is tied for second in scoring by defencemen with six points, while teammate Nik Bilic is tied for fourth in assists by defencemen with four ... Rush defencemen Kyle Rubisch (11) and Nik Bilic (10) are situated tied for sixth and tied for eighth, respectively, amongst the league\'s leaders in forced turnovers.
By the Numbers: Entering just their third home game of the season, the Rush sit atop the NLL in average attendance at 14,754 which is a little over 1,000 better than Buffalo. Saskatchewan is 2-0 at home ... A Rush vs. Mammoth showdown pits two of the league\'s best goaltenders up against each other. Saskatchewan\'s Aaron Bold and Colorado\'s Dillon Ward are tied for the league-lead with four wins apiece, while Bold is ranked third in both goals-against average (11.20) and save-percentage (.779). Ward has the second-best goals-against average (11.13) and is third with 203 total saves ... The Rush have outscored their opposition 21-13 in third-quarter action so far this season. Colorado has been outscored 25-17 in fourth quarters ... The Rush have scored 89 goals so far this season, the second-best total in the NLL. They are also second with an average of 14.83 goals per game. The Mammoth are second having allowed an average of only 11.14 goals per game ... Saskatchewan is 3-0 when leading after the first quarter, 4-0 when leading after three quarters, and 4-0 when they outshoot their opposition. Colorado, meanwhile, is 3-0 when leading after three quarters but 0-3 when trailing at halftime ... The Rush and Mammoth have three of their best right near the top of the league\'s Three-Star Awards points race. Saskatchewan\'s Robert Church is currently second with 13 points (2 x First Star, 1 x Second Star) with Mark Matthews next in third with 12 points (1 x First Star, 2 x Second Star, 1 x Third Star). Colorado\'s Callum Crawford is tied for fourth with 11 points (1 x First Star, 2 x Second Star).