Rush Blast Stealth with 20-Goal Effort
Langley, BC - It was a night of massive offensive production for the Saskatchewan Rush as they remained perfect on the season against West Division rivals with a 20-10 road win over the Vancouver Stealth.
The combination of Mark Matthews, Robert Church, Ben McIntosh, Ryan Keenan, Jeff Shattler, and Marty Dinsdale accounted for 19 goals and 28 assists as the Rush (13-3) completed one of their most-dominant offensive showings in team history. With the win, the Rush remain unbeaten on the season against their foes from the West Division at 9-0, and they completed a four-game season-series sweep of the Stealth (2-14).
Matthews, the NLL leader in points and assists, finished the night with 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) to go over the 100-point plateau for the fourth straight season. Church ended up with nine points (4 goals, 5 assists) and Dinsdale with eight (4 goals, 4 assists).
After giving up the first goal of the night just 25 seconds into the game, the Rush then rattled off a franchise-record nine consecutive goals to take full command of the game.
The impressive run featured first-half hat tricks from both Marty Dinsdale and Ben McIntosh. Dinsdale made it 6-1 early in the second quarter as he put a tricky bounce shot past Stealth goalie Eric Penney, and the Rush forward then grabbed his third of the night putting his shot in after a neat flip pass from Ryan Keenan. After picking up his second of the night on a power play just 1:30 into the second period, McIntosh nabbed his third of the night and his 40th goal of the season with a rocket off the wing to make it 9-1 just before halftime.
Vancouver got a little something going early in the third with three quick goals, but the Rush responded quickly to regain control. After a goal from Keenan to end the Stealth run, McIntosh scored his fourth of the night as he slipped behind two Stealth defenders to get in alone on Penney and then zip a shot to the top corner to make it 11-5.
Rush goalie Adam Shute, making his first NLL start, collected his first assist at the pro level on the next Saskatchewan goal as he sent a long-bomb pass up the floor to Matthews who then put a shot through the Stealth goaltender's legs. McIntosh then cut short another brief Vancouver rally with his fifth - a sensational effort as he put a spin move on a Stealth defender before ripping a shot home to put his team up 13-7.
The Rush tore up the Stealth defence in the fourth quarter, counting seven goals leading off with Church's hat-trick marker coming on a rocket from the slot. Church would add his fourth on a quick-stick tally from below the goal line sandwiched in between three power-play goals for the Rush including a cannon from Matthews at the top of the slot and a quick-stick sidearm effort from Jeff Shattler.
Saskatchewan finished off their scoring barrage with the fourth of the game for Dinsdale as he put his own rebound away, along with a breakaway tally from defenceman Mike Messenger.
McIntosh (5 goals, 2 assists) and Keenan (2 goals, 5 assists) both wound up with seven points, while Shattler (1 goal, 5 assists) totaled six.
Shute, who had played less than five minutes total in his only other NLL game time, came through with 33 saves to pick up his first pro win.
The Rush are back home Saturday night to complete their doubleheader weekend with a showdown against the reigning Champion's Cup title-holders, the Georgia Swarm.
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