It's Saturday Night Lacrosse
The Saskatchewan Rush are aiming to keep a tight grip on top spot in the NLL's West Division as they battle the Vancouver Warriors on Saturday night.
With a 3-1 record against their division rivals, the Rush currently hold a 1.5-game lead over the Colorado Mammoth for first in the West and they are up by three games over the visiting Warriors. The Rush also have three games in-hand on Colorado and Vancouver as well as two games in-hand on the San Diego Seals who are tied for third with the Calgary Roughnecks.
Saskatchewan and Halifax are tied for fourth in the NLL's overall standings. Both teams trail New England, Buffalo and Toronto by one-half game.
The Rush have had their struggles at home, including last Saturday's loss against Toronto, but they have won eight straight regular-season games against Vancouver, including season-series sweeps in 2019 and 2018. The two teams will meet only once more this year when the Warriors will host the Rush in the regular-season finale on April 24th.
Last January, the Rush visited the Warriors' new home at Rogers Arena for the first time and came away with a 14-10 win behind a five-goal game from Ben McIntosh. Mark Matthews, Jeff Shattler and Marty Dinsdale each added a pair while singles went to Jeremy Thompson, Curtis Knight, and Ryan Keenan.
Robert Church chipped in six assists for the Rush. Just over a month later, the Rush returned to Vancouver and ended a three-game losing streak with a 15-13 victory behind a 30-save effort from goalie Evan Shute, who was making his first start of the season. Mark Matthews led the Rush with three goals and four assists, while Mike Messenger and Marty Dinsdale each scored twice. Ben McIntosh, Jeff Shattler and Matt MacGrotty had the other Rush goals.
The Rush won their only home game last season against Vancouver with a 12-9 verdict. Robert Church scored four goals, Jeff Shattler added a hat trick, Ryan Keenan and Ben McIntosh both scored twice and Mark Matthews contributed a goal and seven assists.
Saskatchewan completed its season-sweep of Vancouver late in the 2018 campaign with a 20-10 victory behind 11 points from Mark Matthews collected 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists), nine points from Robert Church (4 goals, 5 assists), and the first career NLL victory for goaltender Adam Shute. The game also marked the second time the Rush posted 20-plus goals against Vancouver, having defeated the old Stealth franchise 24-16 back in 2016.
LAST GAME: The Rush had a four-goal lead at halftime, but couldn't hang onto it as the Rock came from behind to claim a 9-8 victory in Saskatoon. Robert Church had a hat trick for the Rush, Jeff Shattler added a pair and singles went to Ryan Keenan, Marty Dinsdale and Mark Matthews.
ALTERNA CUP: The season-long head-to-head series between the Canadian teams in the NLL now has the Rush standing in second spot after last weekend's loss to Toronto. The Rock take over top spot at 3-1 with the Rush at 1-1. Calgary (1-1), Halifax (2-2) and Vancouver (0-2) round out the current Alterna Cup leaderboard.
ROAD WARRIORS: The Rush (5-0) and New England Black Wolves (3-0) are the only NLL teams that are undefeated on the road so far this season.
MILESTONE MINUTE: Ryan Dilks needs three caused turnovers to reach 200 for his NLL career.
FAMILIAR FACES: Former Rush Riley Loewen sits fourth in Warriors scoring. It is his first season in Vancouver after being traded from the Rush to Calgary. Ian Hawksbee played for the Rush from 2008-2010 and then returned for the 2011 season, and current Warriors Head Coach Chris Gill led the Rush in scoring in the 2007 season. Past Rush fan favorites Nik Bilic and Aaron Bold have not fared well this season in Vancouver. Bilic was injured in the Warriors first game and is out for the season, while Bold was released after six games.
Statistically Speaking: Mark Matthews continues to lead the Rush in scoring with 45 points, and is tied for ninth in the league with 42 assists ... It's been a breakout year for Vancouver's Mitch Jones. He is tied for second in the NLL with 68 points, tied for third in goals (28), tied for second in assists (40) and tied for the league-lead in shorthanded goals with three ... The Rush power play is currently tied for seventh in the league at 46.9% (15-for-32). Mark Matthews is tied for ninth with 10 power-play assists and Ben McIntosh is tied for 11th with five power-play goals ... The Rush's penalty kill is ranked 13th at 41.2% (20 goals allowed in 34 shorthanded situations) ... The Warriors are ranked 11th on the power play at 39.1% (18-for-46) and they are eighth on the penalty kill at 48.9% (24 goals allowed in 45 shorthanded situations) ... Penalties are a big concern for the Warriors. Vancouver's Matt Beers and Owen Barker lead the league with 43 penalty minutes each and the team also leads the league with 193 PIM. The Warriors have committed the most major penalties (seven) and the most game misconducts (three). The Warriors have scored four shorthanded goals but have given up a league-high seven shorties ... The Rush's Ryan Dilks is second in the NLL with 22 caused turnovers while Kyle Rubisch is tied for sixth with 15. The Rush lead all NLL teams with 109 caused turnovers ... 2018-29: Last season, the Rush's Mark Matthews finished in a tie for third in the NLL scoring race with 105 points. Matthews finished tied for seventh in assists (64) and tied for fourth in goals at 41 with teammate Ben McIntosh ... Jeff Shattler of the Rush led the NLL with five game-winning goals ... Saskatchewan ended the season with the top-ranked power play at 57.4%, scoring 31 goals on 54 power-play opportunities ... Rush defenceman Kyle Rubisch was tops in the NLL with 45 caused turnovers.
By the Numbers: The Rush sit second in the NLL attendance derby with an average of 12,101 ... Ben McIntosh leads the Rush in the NLL Three Star Award race with 17 points (2 x First Star, 2 x Second Star, 1 x Third Star). Vancouver's Mitch Jones is second in Three Star points with 25 (4 x First Star, 1 x Second Star, 2 x Third Star) ... The Rush are ninth in the NLL in goals scored per game at 10.4 and stand fourth in goals allowed per game at 9.6. The Warriors are 12th in goals scored per game at 9.2 and 11th in goals allowed per game at 11.9 ... Rush goalie Evan Kirk is tied for second in the NLL with six wins and stands fifth in save-percentage at .810 ... The Rush have outscored their opposition 25-14 in first-quarter play so far this season, but trailed their opponents 24-18 in fourth quarters. The Warriors are down 43-27 to their opponents in second-quarter play and 34-23 in third-quarter play ... The Rush are 5-0 on the year when they lead after three quarters. The Warriors are 1-6 on the year when they trail at halftime ... 2018-19: Saskatchewan won the NLL attendance derby again last season with an average of 13,459 which was 413 better than Buffalo ... The Rush finished the season first in the West with 222 goals. They were third in goals scored per game average with 12.33 and fourth in goals allowed at 11.22 per game ... The Rush ended the regular season with 7-2 record at home and 9-3 versus the West. They were also 9-1 when leading after the first quarter, 10-0 when leading at halftime, 10-0 when leading after three quarters.
Rush vs. Warriors/Stealth - Season-by-Season Glance
12-9 Rush win (Robert Church picks up seven points, including four goals)
15-13 Rush win (Mark Matthews notches a hat trick along with four assists)
14-10 Rush win (Ben McIntosh registered eight points on five goals and three assists)
20-10 Rush win (Mark Matthews, Robert Church and Ben McIntosh combine for 12 goals and 15 assists)
16-10 Rush win (Robert Church racks up eight points on four goals and four assists)
16-9 Rush win (Robert Church collects eight points including a hat trick)
11-9 Rush win (Robert Church scores twice and adds five assists for seven-point game)
16-12 Rush win (Mark Matthews tops scoring with hat trick and four assists)
13-9 Stealth win (Tye Belanger makes 55 saves)
16-12 Rush win (Robert Church racks up four goals and Mark Matthews chips in eight assists)
14-12 Stealth win (Logan Schuss and Joel McCready each scored four goals)
24-16 Rush win (Zack Greer records career-high 11 points including five goals)
13-11 Stealth win (Corey Small fires in five goals against his former team)
17-10 Rush win (Robert Church racks up nine points with five goals and four assists)
15-14 OT Rush win (Zack Greer scored four goals including overtime game-winner)
19-7 Rush win (Mark Matthews and Tyler Melnyk both score four goals)
10-5 Rush win (Aaron Bold totals 40 saves for the victory)
10-9 Rush win (Robert Church notches hat trick)
9-8 Rush win (Curtis Knight, Zack Greer, & Mark Matthews each score two goals)
*12-11 Stealth win (Rhys Duch notches four goals and two assists)
15-10 Rush win (Mark Matthews registers 'sock trick' with six goals)
12-10 Stealth win (Rhys Duch collects two goals and two assists)
18-10 Rush win (Mark Matthews ties team record with nine points)
*denotes playoff game - West Division Semifinal
Rush vs. Warriors/Stealth - Season-by-Season Glance (cont'd)
10-9 Rush win (Zack Greer paces Rush with four goals)
16-5 Rush win (Corey Small ties team record with nine-point game)
14-12 Rush win (Scott Evans scores one goal and adds seven loose balls)
15-14 Rush win (Corey Small notches three goals and three assists)
18-10 Stealth win (Lewis Ratcliff racks up nine points including four goals)
14-6 Stealth win (Colin Doyle chips in four assists)
*12-11 Stealth OT win (Paul Rabil notches game-winner eight seconds into
15-7 Stealth win (Lewis Ratcliff scores twice and adds five assists)
14-13 Rush OT win (Gavin Prout connects for seven points including three
14-13 Rush win (Ryan Ward leads the way with four goals)
*denotes playoff game - West Division Final
16-6 Stealth win (Cam Sedgwick scores four goals and adds two assists)
11-10 Stealth win (Jeff Zywicki racks up seven points including three goals)
11-8 Stealth win (Colin Doyle notches four goals and adds two assists)
12-5 Rush win (Jimmy Quinlan picks up the hat trick)
11-9 Stealth win (Jeff Zywicki counts five points including three goals)
14-7 Stealth win (Jeff Zywicki notches nine-point game including five goals)
9-8 Stealth win (Colin Doyle paces attack with five points)
12-11 Stealth win (Jeff Zywicki picks up hat trick plus two assists)
10-9 Stealth OT win (Jeff Zywicki scores three goals including game-winner)
Saskatchewan Rush (6-3) vs. Vancouver Warriors (4-8)
7:00PM (CST), Saturday, March 7, 2020
Co-op Field at SaskTel Centre, Saskatoon, SK
Tickets | CLICK HERE
Watch | B/R Live
Listen | 92.9 The Bull
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