January 17, 2013 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Edmonton Rush
Edmonton, AB--The Edmonton Rush will go in search of their first victory of the 2013 National Lacrosse League season when they play their first road game of the campaign Sunday in Everett against the Washington Stealth.
Edmonton was topped 10-9 by Toronto in its season-opener last Sunday at Rexall Place, while Washington picked up its second win of the season with a 17-13 decision over Colorado.
This will be the first of three meetings between the Rush and Stealth this season. The teams will have a return matchup in Edmonton next Friday (Jan. 25) and then round out their season series on Feb. 15 at Rexall Place.
The Rush have won four of the last five meetings against the Stealth, and swept last season's two-game series. In the Rush's 16-5 road win over Washington in 2012, Corey Small set a new team record by picking up seven assists in the game. Small's two goals gave him a nine-point night which tied a then-team record for points in a single game.
Edmonton claimed a 10-9 win over Washington at Rexall Place to complete the season sweep. Zack Greer paced the Rush with a four-goal game, following up on his hat trick against the Stealth in the road win.
The Rush are 7-11 in all-time regular-season meetings against the Washington/San Jose franchise, while the Stealth clutch to the lone playoff victory in the teams' histories - an overtime thriller that sent Washington to the 2010 Champion's Cup final.
Edmonton came out of the gates in fine fashion last week against Toronto, holding leads of 4-2 at end of the first quarter and 6-5 at halftime. But the offense dried up following the first quarter and the Rush managed just three goals in the second half to let the home-opener slip away.
The Rush did get a solid coming-out party from their two first-round draft picks who were both playing their first NLL game. First overall pick Mark Matthews scored Edmonton's first goal of the season, and eighth overall selection Curtis Knight added the Rush's second goal less than a minute later, paving the way to both players finishing with three goals and two assists in their pro debuts.
All three of Knight's goals came on the power play, giving him the NLL lead in that department, and earning him the NLL's Rookie of the Week honor for Week #2.
But it was slim pickings for the Rush offense outside of the two rookies. Corey Small and Ryan Ward each had a goal and four assists with Zack Greer adding the other Rush tally.
With two games under their belts, the Stealth boast a number of league-leaders including Cliff Smith with seven goals and 15 points. Smith was named the NLL's Offensive Player of the Week for the second straight week behind his seven-point outing against Colorado.
Rush vs. Stealth - Season-by-Season Glance
10-9 Rush win at Edmonton (Zack Greer paces Rush with four goals)
16-5 Rush win at Washington (Corey Small ties team record with nine-point game)
14-12 Rush win at Edmonton (Scott Evans scores one goal and adds seven loose balls)
15-14 Rush win at Washington (Corey Small notches three goals and three assists)
18-10 Stealth win at Edmonton
15-7 Stealth win at Washington (Lewis Ratcliff scores twice and adds five assists)
14-13 Rush OT win at Edmonton (Gavin Prout connects for seven points including three goals)
14-13 Rush win at Washington (Ryan Ward leads the way with four goals)
*12-11 Stealth OT win at Washington (Paul Rabil notches game-winner eight seconds into OT)
*denotes playoff game - West Division Final
16-6 Stealth win at San Jose (Cam Sedgwick scores four goals and adds two assists)
11-10 Stealth win at San Jose (Jeff Zywicki racks up seven points including three goals)
11-8 Stealth win at Edmonton (Colin Doyle notches four goals and adds two assists)
12-5 Rush win at Edmonton (Jimmy Quinlan picks up the hat trick)
14-6 Stealth win at San Jose (Colin Doyle chips in four assists)
11-9 Stealth win at Edmonton (Jeff Zywicki counts five points including three goals)
14-7 Stealth win at San Jose (Jeff Zywicki notches nine-point game including five goals)
9-8 Stealth win at San Jose (Colin Doyle paces attack with five points)
10-9 Stealth OT win at Edmonton (Jeff Zywicki scores three goals including game-winner)
12-11 Stealth win at San Jose (Jeff Zywicki picks up hat trick plus two assists)
Statistically Speaking: The Rush managed 10 forced turnovers against Toronto, three of them coming from newcomer Jarrett Davis ... Kyle Rubisch, Chris Corbeil, and Jeremy Thompson, another new face in the Rush lineup, are tied for the team lead with seven loose balls ... Edmonton went 4-for-6 on the power play against Toronto with three of the goals coming from rookie Curtis Knight. Mark Matthews, with Edmonton's first goal of the season, had the other power-play marker ... Long been a sore spot for the Rush, the team actually fared rather well on faceoffs against the Rock, going 15-for-22. Jarrett Toll led the way and sits fifth in the NLL with 10 faceoff wins ... Stealth veteran Bob Snider currently leads the NLL in both loose balls (30) and faceoff wins (43)
By The Numbers: After dropping the first six meetings all-time against the Stealth, the Rush have won seven of the last eight regular-season matchups including three on the road ... Aaron Bold made 34 saves against Toronto last week, and is ranked fourth in the NLL with a 10.00 goals-against average ... Longtime Rush killer Rhys Duch is fourth in the NLL with 10 points and second in goals with six.
Quotes from the Rush GM/Head Coach
"I thought we played well in spurts. We had a good start and I think maybe we ran out of gas a bit and maybe we were a bit rusty. I thought we played well enough to win, but sometimes that happens and you don't get the win."
- Keenan on the Rush's home-opener loss against Toronto
"We had a lot of new guys in the lineup and they contributed which was good to see. We'd like to get the other guys going this weekend."
- Keenan on the need for the Rush veterans to provide more offense
"I thought Curtis was our best player on the floor. Mark did a good job but I thought his shooting was not as good as it could be."
- Keenan on the performances of rookies Curtis Knight and Mark Matthews in their first NLL game