Rush at Black Wolves Game Notes
Saskatchewan Rush @ New England Black Wolves
6:30PM CST | Friday, December 28th 2018
Mohegan Sun Arena | Uncasville, CT
Watch | B/R Live
Listen | 92.9 The Bull
Official Viewing Party | Shoeless Joe's
The defending NLL Cup-champion Saskatchewan Rush get their 2019 season started on the road as they visit the New England Black Wolves.
New England got its season under way two weeks ago, dropping a 16-12 road decision against the Georgia Swarm.
Saskatchewan finished the 2018 campaign in style as the club won its third NLL championship over the past four seasons. The Rush beat the Rochester Knighthawks 2-1 in the best-of-three NLL Cup Final, taking the deciding game 15-10 before a crowd of nearly 14,000 at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon.
The Rush captured the lead in the all-time series (4-3) between themselves in the Black Wolves and original Philadelphia Wings franchise last season when they blasted New England 24-11 in Saskatchewan's home-opener.
Mark Matthews led the Rush assault as he set a team record with 13 points in a single game, including six goals. The Rush were up 10-3 at halftime and then exploded for nine goals in the third quarter to turn the game into a blowout. Ben McIntosh had a nine-point game (5 goals, 4 assists) while Adrian Sorichetti, Ryan Keenan and Robert Church combined for six goals and nine assists. Jeremy Thompson, Jeff Shattler, Ryan Dilks, Chris Corbeil, Jeff Cornwall, Curtis Knight, and Brett Mydske each added singles with Evan Kirk earning his first victory in a Rush jersey as he made 31 saves.
That loss in Saskatoon was the first of three games in which the Black Wolves gave up 20-plus goals, leading to them have the worst goal differential in the NLL last season at minus-48. The Rush had the league's best differential at plus-58.
In 2017, the Wolves scored two goals in the last 30 seconds of regulation and then got the game-winner from Shawn Evans at 3:17 of overtime to take a 13-12 verdict in Saskatoon. The Wolves scored four goals with an extra-attacker in the fourth quarter, three of them coming in last 1:24 of regulation. For the Rush, Robert Church, Mark Matthews, and Curtis Knight each scored twice, with singles going to Mike Messenger, Ryan Keenan, Jeff Cornwall, Jeremy Thompson, Ben McIntosh and Matt Hossack. Evan Kirk, now the number-one goaltender for the Rush, made 43 saves for New England.
The Rush won the first-ever meeting between the teams after their opponent's move to New England. An eight-point outing from Mark Matthews (6 goals, 2 assists) and four goals from Ben McIntosh paced the Rush to an 18-9 win. The Rush jumped out to a 4-0 lead and then scored the game's final six goals.
The Rush played just a single exhibition game prior to the start of the 2019 season, but did not a 17-11 victory over the Calgary Roughnecks at SaskTel Centre. Ryan Keenan led the way with four goals with Ben McIntosh and Jeff Shattler each adding hat tricks. The Rush got two goals apiece from Mark Matthews and Marty Dinsdale along with singles from Chris Corbeil, Connor Robinson and Zach Gould.
RUSH SEASON-OPENER HISTORY (4-9)
2018: Rush 17, Toronto 9
2017: Georgia 18, Rush 10
2016: Rush 10, Calgary 8
2015: Buffalo 9, Rush 8
2014: Rush 13, Calgary 10
2013: Toronto 10, Rush 9
2012: Colorado 13, Rush 12
2011: Toronto 13, Rush 7
2010: Washington 15, Rush 7
2009: Calgary 10, Rush 9
2008: Colorado 14, Rush 11
2007: Rush 13, Philadelphia 12
2006: San Jose 10, Rush 9 (OT)
Statistically Speaking: Saskatchewan's Jeremy Thompson needs six loose balls to reach 1,000 for his career with the Rush. He reached the 1,000 overall career mark last season ... The Rush went 4-for-7 on the power play against New England in Saskatchewan's home-opening 24-11 win last winter. The Rush also scored two shorthanded goals in the victory as man-down markers from Ryan Dilks and Curtis Knight came just 19 seconds apart ... Former Calgary Roughneck/Vancouver Stealth Tyler Digby posted three goals and two assists for the Black Wolves in their season-opening loss to Georgia. Onetime Rush forward Callum Crawford had six points (2 goals, 4 assists) and goaltender Doug Jamieson registered 44 saves ... 2018 Playoffs: For the third time in his career, the Rush's Mark Matthews finished on top of NLL playoff scoring with 22 points. He also led all playoff performers with 19 assists and two game-winning goals ... Ben McIntosh of the Rush finished in a tie for third in playoff scoring with 18 points and ended up fourth with 10 assists ... Saskatchewan's Robert Church and Jeff Shattler finished tied for fourth with 15 points, but Shattler's efforts over the final two games of the NLL Cup were what garnered him the Playoff MVP award ... 2018 Regular Season: Rush star Mark Matthews completed the regular season in style as he set a new NLL record for assists in a single season with 84, and captured the league scoring title with 116 points, which also broke his own team record for points in a season. Matthews led the NLL with 33 power-play assists and was tied for the league-lead with three game-winning goals ... The Rush's Robert Church finished second in league scoring with 107 points and tied for second in the league with 47 goals, one up on teammate Ben McIntosh. Church also finished sixth with 60 assists ... Saskatchewan finished the regular season with the top-ranked power play at 67.8% (59-for-87). Robert Church, Ben McIntosh and Ryan Keenan all tied for third in the league with 14 power-play goals, and Church also finished second with 27 power-play assists ... The Rush finished with the fifth-ranked penalty kill at 52.8% with eight shorthanded goals ... Rush goalie Evan Kirk led the league with 12 wins and finished with the second-best goals-against average at 10.82. He also had the fourth-best save-percentage at .777 ... Saskatchewan finished with a league-best 19.9% shooting percentage. Rush captain Chris Corbeil ranked fourth at 38.9% (7 goals on 18 shots).
By the Numbers: This will be the Rush's fourth season-opener since moving to Saskatchewan and they have gone 2-1 in the previous three with all three games being played on the road. The Rush beat Calgary 10-8 in the 2016 lid-lifter behind four shorthanded goals including two on the same kill only 1:01 apart. Robert Church and Mark Matthews each had five points in that win. After falling to Georgia to kick off 2017, the Rush rebounded last year to hammer the Rock 17-9 in Toronto. Newcomer Jeff Shattler had eight points in his debut, Robert Church notched eight points, and Ben McIntosh scored five goals while the Rush went 4-for-5 on the power play ... 2018 Playoffs: Rush goalie Evan Kirk wrapped up the playoffs tied for the league lead in wins with three. He placed second in both minutes played (238) and total saves (145), and was ranked third in save percentage (.767) ... The post-season was a notable one for the Rush's Matt Hossack as he finished tied for second amongst defencemen with five points and was second with two goals. Hossack also placed fourth in shooting percentage at ... 2018 Regular Season: Saskatchewan won the NLL's attendance derby with an average of 14,639 - 458 better than Buffalo. The Rush finished the season 6-3 on their home turf ... The Rush led the NLL with 254 goals scored and just 196 goals allowed. Saskatchewan topped the league with 14.11 goals scored per game and 10.89 goals allowed per game. Rochester finished third in both goals scored per game (13.11) and goals allowed per game (11.67) ... The Rush's Mark Matthews, Ryan Keenan and Robert Church all finished the regular season with 18-game assist streaks ... Jeremy Thompson of the Rush finished second in the league with 164 loose balls and fourth in faceoff wins with 234 ... Rush defenceman Kyle Rubisch finished seventh with 25 caused turnovers and 10th with 130 loose balls ... Saskatchewan was the only team in the league with three players in the top 10 of the Three Star Award voting. Robert Church was fifth with 26 points (3 x First Star, 3 x Second Star, 2 x Second Star), Mark Matthews was sixth with 24 points (3 x First Star, 2 x Second Star, 3 x Third Star), and Evan Kirk was eighth with 21 points (3 x First Star, 2 x Second Star) ... The Rush outscored their opposition 62-30 in first-quarter play ... The Rush were 12-2 when leading after the first quarter, 13-1 when leading at halftime, 13-1 when leading after three, and 11-0 when outshooting their opponents.
RUSH VS. BLACK WOLVES/WINGS SEASON-BY-SEASON GLANCE
24-11 Rush win (Mark Matthews scores team record 13 points including six goals)
13-12 OT Black Wolves win (Kyle Buchanan registers six points including four goals)
14-13 Black Wolves win (Kyle Buchanan scored four goals and adds two assists)
18-9 Rush win (Mark Matthews and Ben McIntosh both rack up eight points)
8-6 Rush win (Jeremy Thompson with one goal and 15 loose balls)
19-14 Wings win (Merrick Thompson pots six goals)
13-12 Rush win (Jimmy Quinlan collects five goals)
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