RUSH COME OUT ON TOP IN OVERTIME NAIL-BITER AGAINST ROUGHNECKS
Calgary AB - The Saskatchewan Rush saw two big leads disappear, but they were able to come up with a dramatic victory as Ben McIntosh scored in overtime to give the Rush a 13-12 decision over the Calgary Roughnecks.
McIntosh netted his second of the night and 18th of the season 1:46 into OT as he took the ball from the wing, drove to the slot and burst past Calgary defender Chad Cummings, and fired a shot to the top corner past Roughnecks goalie Christian Del Bianco. The goal lifted the Rush to a win that had looked locked up in the first half as they held a pair of six-goal leads. Saskatchewan let several big leads slip away last weekend in a gut-wrenching 16-15 home-turf overtime loss to the Buffalo Bandits.
With the victory, the Rush (5-1) maintain top spot in the NLL's West Division and they improved to 4-0 on the road by winning for the ninth time in the last 10 regular-season meetings with the arch-rival Roughnecks.
"We were fortunate to come out with the win," said Rush transition player Adrian Sorichetti, who scored twice on fast-break opportunities.
"It's always a battle every time we play Calgary and give them credit as they pushed the ball all game and capitalized on their chances."
Saskatchewan jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the first quarter with five different shooters finding the net. After Curtis Knight scored on the Rush's first shot of the game, Adrian Sorichetti put the Rush up 2-0 as he finished off a 2-on-1 break with Mike Messenger with a shot that beat Frank Scigliano. Saskatchewan rookie Nick Finlay added to the lead with his first career NLL goal as he tucked in a low shot after a perfect long-bomb pass from Rush goalie Evan Kirk.
The Rush catapulted to the first six-goal lead in the second quarter as Mark Matthews tallied a shorthanded marker, McIntosh counted his first of the night as he gunned a sidearm shot home from the slot, and Ryan Keenan used a screen to fire a shot inside the far post to make it 8-2. Calgary rallied briefly to close the lead, but the Rush responded with two more for their second six-goal cushion. Sorichetti made it 9-4 as he put home a terrific shot and Jeff Shattler followed with his second of the game as he found an open spot in the slot and fired in a power-play marker.
Despite the sizeable deficit, the Roughnecks responded with a strong third quarter, anchored by Del Bianco who took over between the pipes for a struggling Scigliano after he was pulled following Shattler's first of the night late in the opening quarter. Del Bianco blanked the Rush in the third while the Roughnecks shooters put five behind Kirk, including goals 27 seconds apart by former Rush Riley Loewen and Mitch Wilde.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Roughnecks finally drew even as Curtis Dickson gunned a low shot behind Kirk for his fifth goal of the game. Matthews got behind the Roughnecks defence to restore the lead, but it was short-lived as Holton Cattoni's long-range shot eluded Kirk to make it 11-11. Again, the Rush answered as Knight's quick-stick bounce shot got by Del Bianco, but the Roughnecks got back to even one more time as Dane Dobbie forced overtime with his goal coming with just 59 seconds left in regulation.
Jeremy Thompson notched the Rush's other goal, while Kirk finished with 49 saves.
"I thought we played much better than last weekend but we did come unglued a little bit," said Rush GM/head coach Derek Keenan. "I thought we got a lot of chances but their young goalie (Del Bianco) stood on his head. But we got a big play from Bennie to win it."
The Rush have a doubleheader weekend coming up as they head to Denver to take on the Colorado Mammoth on Friday and then they return home on Saturday to face another West Division foe as the Vancouver Stealth visit Co-op Field at SaskTel Centre.
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Rush Come out on Top in Overtime Nail-Biter against Roughnecks
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National Lacrosse League Stories from January 29, 2018
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