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Rush Stomp Swarm 13-9 to Stay Unbeaten on the Season

January 9, 2018 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Saskatchewan Rush News Release

Duluth GA - A six-goal outburst in the third quarter paced the Saskatchewan Rush to a 13-9 victory over the Georgia Swarm and a measure of revenge against the team that ended their two-year reign as Champion's Cup title-holders.

Saskatchewan's 3-0 record is their best start to a season since 2014 when the Rush set an NLL record by winning their first 14 games and finishing the regular-season with a 16-2 record. The Rush's win Saturday was their second road win of this season and third over a East Division rival.

The Rush blew open a tightly-contested, low-scoring game with a potent third quarter that included a four-goal run capped by a shorthanded tally.

"I think it's a big psychological win for us," said Rush GM/head coach Derek Keenan. "We lost the Cup Final to them last year, didn't win a game in their building last year, so this was very important.

"We talked at halftime about sticking with the game plan and grinding it out especially on offence. We got our feet moving, did a better job shooting, and put in a really good effort."

Holding a 5-3 lead at halftime, the Rush jumped ahead by three when Jeremy Thompson sprinted into open space, closed in on the net, and sent a tricky bounce shot behind Swarm goalie Mike Poulin. After a Georgia goal, Robert Church put Saskatchewan ahead by three again when he cut past a defender and put his shot off the post and the goalie before it went into the net. Georgia answered on an ensuing power play, but the Rush then scored four straight creating an insurmountable lead.

Newcomer and former league MVP Jeff Shattler completed his hat trick on the night to make it 8-5. After an initial chance was denied, the Rush recaptured the ball and Ben McIntosh sent a perfect feed across the goalmouth for Shattler's quick-stick strike. Saskatchewan's next three goals all came courtesy of their dangerous transition attack.

Just 24 seconds after Shattler's goal, Rush captain Chris Corbeil led a breakout into the Swarm zone, dropped a pass to Matt Hossack and the second-year pro undressed Poulin with a sensational deke and slipped the ball home. The Rush took a 10-5 lead just over a minute later when rookie Nick Finlay, making his NLL debut, sped up the floor and spotted Brett Mydske alone in the slot, and the veteran defender whipped a shot to the back of the net. The Rush scooted further ahead with only 16 seconds left in the third when Jeff Cornwall snared a loose ball, sprinted down the floor, and rifled a shot past Poulin for a shorthanded marker and an 11-5 lead.

"Those transition goals really got us going," noted Keenan. "Those goals and the shorthanded goal, those are real backbreakers."

McIntosh scored on a Rush power play in the fourth when he grabbed a pass from Mark Matthews at the edge of the Georgia crease and slammed in his team-leading 11th goal. Church completed his hat trick less than a minute later as he squeezed between two defenders in front of the Swarm net, snared Ryan Keenan's feed, turned and fired it in.

Church, who counted the only goal of the game's first quarter on a quick-stick release on pass from Keenan, led the Rush with six points (3 goals, 3 assists) while Matthews and Marty Dinsdale - both on long-range rockets from the high slot in the second quarter - added the other goals. The Rush received a standout performance from goalie Evan Kirk, who mustered 42 saves and was particularly sharp in the first half when the game was on even terms.

"Our goalie was unreal, our defence played tough, and our offence was going. We're playing really well right now," said Shattler.

The Rush continue a two-game road trip next Saturday with their first game of the season against a West Division rival. It's already a showdown for top spot in the West as the Rush travel to Denver to take on the Colorado Mammoth, who are also off to a 3-0 start.

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Rush Stomp Swarm 13-9 to Stay Unbeaten on the Season
Rush Stomp Swarm 13-9 to Stay Unbeaten on the Season

  

National Lacrosse League Stories from January 9, 2018


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