Rush vs. Knighthawks Game Notes
Saskatchewan Rush (8-1) vs. Rochester Knighthawks (3-6)
6:30PM (CST), February 17th 2018
Blue Cross Arena, Rochester NY
Watch: NLLTV, SaskTel maxTV Ch. 49/349
Listen: 98 COOL
A hat trick of significant winning streaks are on the line as the Saskatchewan Rush trek to upstate New York to take on the Rochester Knighthawks.
The Rush are in the midst of a four-game winning streak, which got extended last Saturday when they shot down the Vancouver Stealth 16-9. With the win, the Rush moved two games in front of Buffalo for the overall lead in the National Lacrosse League standings, and also three games in front of Colorado in the NLL's West Division.
In addition to that winning streak, the Rush are currently 6-0 in road games this season, having picked up two victories in Colorado and one in Toronto, Georgia, Calgary and Vancouver. Meanwhile, Rochester has lost three straight at home.
The Rush have also won nine straight regular-season games against Rochester dating back to the 2013 season. Rochester's last regular-season win over the Rush came in 2011, and the Knighthawks have not beaten the Rush since mounting a comeback to claim the 2012 Champion's Cup Final. Saskatchewan handed Rochester two lopsided beatdowns last season, beginning with a 16-8 victory in the Rush's home-opener. The Rush went 6-for-8 on the power play in that game and got an 11-point effort out of Mark Matthews (4 goals, 7 assists). Robert Church and Ben McIntosh each posted hat tricks with singles going to Chris Corbeil, Ryan Dilks, Ryan Keenan, and Marty Dinsdale.
Three weeks later, the Rush blasted the K-Hawks 21-12 in Rochester as Robert Church collected 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists) and Mark Matthews had a 10-point night (4 goals, 6 assists). Curtis Knight, Adam Jones, Marty Dinsdale and Ben McIntosh each scored twice with Mike Messenger, Chris Corbeil, Ryan Dilks, Adrian Sorichetti and Matt Hossack each adding a goal.
Back in the 2015 season, the Rush blew out the Knighthawks 16-3 which marked the Rush's largest margin of victory over an opponent. The Rush got out of the blocks fast and led 11-1 at halftime and cruised the rest of the way. In 2014, two wins over the Knighthawks helped the Rush establish their record-setting 14-0 start. The Rush captured an 8-7 overtime win and then earned a 15-11 victory on the road. After winning in Rochester, the Rush traveled to Toronto the next day and beat the Rock setting a new NLL record for most consecutive road wins.
Last Saturday in Vancouver, the Rush jumped out to a 6-0 lead by the end of the first quarter and went on to post an 11-3 advantage by halftime. Curtis Knight paced the Rush with four goals, including his team's final three goals of the night, while Robert Church (3 goals, 5 assists) and Ben McIntosh both added hat tricks. Mark Matthews popped in two with singles going to Chris Corbeil, Marty Dinsdale, Jeff Shattler, and Matt Hossack.
Rochester split a doubleheader last weekend, losing 12-9 at home against Toronto but then capturing a 17-10 win over Georgia thanks in large part to scoring seven goals in the fourth quarter.
Statistically Speaking: For the first time in a long time, Mark Matthews is not currently leading the Rush in scoring as he was passed by Robert Church following Church's eight-point game against Vancouver. Church's 55 points put him just one behind league-leader Dhane Smith of Buffalo with Matthews in third with 53 points and Ben McIntosh moving into eighth with 45 points. Saskatchewan and Toronto each have three players in the league's top-10 scoring ... The Rush's Ben McIntosh leads the NLL with 25 goals with Robert Church right behind in second with 22. Mark Matthews is tops in the league with 36 assists and Robert Church is third with 33 helpers ... The Rush boast the NLL's top-ranked power play at 69.2% (27-for-39). Ben McIntosh is tied for the league-lead with eight power-play goals with teammate Ryan Keenan right behind with seven. Robert Church, who has led the NLL in power-play goals for two years in a row, is teid for seventh with five goals and Mark Matthews is tied for 10th with four. Matthews leads the NLL with 15 power-play assists and Church is right behind in second with 12 ... The Rush's penalty kill is ranked third in the league at 54.1% and they connected for six shorthanded goals. Rush captain Chris Corbeil is tied for the league-lead with two shorthanded goals and fellow Saskatchewan defenceman Ryan Dilks is tied for first with two shorthanded assists ... Rochester has the NLL's second-ranked power play at 58.1% (18-for-31) and the Knighthawks are tops on the penalty kill at 62.2%. The K-Hawks also have scored six shorthanded goals ... Rush netminder Evan Kirk leads the NLL with six wins and he is ranked second in goals-against average (10.95) and total saves (312). Kirk has the fourth-best save-percentage at .780 ... Rochester's Matt Vinc, a five-time winner of the NLL Goaltender of the Year award, leads the league with 339 total saves and is third in goals-against average (11.19) and save-percentage (.787). Kirk stopped Vinc's run of three straight Goalie of the Year awards in 2016 ... The Rush's Ben McIntosh sits fourth in the league's Three Star Award voting with 13 points (2 x First Star, 1 x Second Star). Rush goalie Evan Kirk is sixth with 11 points (1 x First Star, 2 x Second Star) and the Rush's Curtis Knight has joined the league-leaders with eight points (1 x First Star, 1 x Second Star) ... Joe Resetarits has been the dominant force for Rochester as he sits seventh in the NLL in points (47) and goals (19) ... 2017: Saskatchewan's Mark Matthews finished second in league scoring last season as he 113 points left him just three behind Georgia's Lyle Thompson. Matthews had 73 assists to lead the league and break his own franchise record ... The Rush's Robert Church cracked the NLL's top-20 scoring last season with 77 points, and for the second straight season, Church led the NLL in power-play goals. After scoring 17 on the man-advantage in 2016, Church notched 21 goals on the power play in last season. Mark Matthews helped the cause along with a league-high 29 power-play assists.
By the Numbers: Saskatchewan's Mark Matthews continues to hold the NLL's game-high lead in goals (six) and points (13) so far this season ... The Rush's Ben McIntosh has scored in nine straight games, while teammates Mark Matthews, Curtis Knight, Robert Church, and Ryan Keenan have picked up assists in nine straight ... Saskatchewan continues to lead the NLL in attendance with an average of 14,474 - 2,200 better than second-place Colorado ... The Rush lead the NLL with 139 goals scored and lead in both goals-per-game (15.44) and goals-allowed-per-game (10.78). Rochester is fourth in goals-per-game (12.78) and goals-allowed-per-game (11.78) ... The Rush's Jeremy Thompson leads the NLL with 128 faceoff wins. Thompson is also second with 75 loose balls, one ahead of teammate Kyle Rubisch ... Saskatchewan's Curtis Knight leads the NLL with three game-winning goals .. The Rush lead the NLL with a team shooting percentage of 21.6%. Rush transition Adrian Sorichetti leads the individual derby at 58.3% (7 goals on 12 shots) with Rush captain Chris Corbeil sitting third at 50.0% (5 goals on 10 shots) ... Rush defencemen Ryan Dilks, Brett Mydske and Chris Corbeil are all tied for 10th in the league with 12 forced turnovers ... The Rush's Matt Hossack is tied for seventh amongst defencemen with 10 points ... Rochester's Austin Shanks (16) and Eric Fannell (13) are third and fourth, respectively, in rookie scoring ... The Rush have outscored their opposition 32-10 in first-quarter play and 42-24 in second-quarter action. The trail their opposition 31-28 in fourth-quarter scoring ... Rochester is 0-4 when trailing at halftime and 0-6 when trailing after three quarters ... The Rush are 3-1 against East Division foes so far this season ... 2017: Saskatchewan finished second in NLL attendance last season with an average of 14,921 fans per game, trailing Buffalo by only 227 ... Rush forward Mark Matthews was named to the NLL's First Team All-Pro following last season, while teammate Mike Messenger earned a spot on the All-Rookie Team. Messenger finished tied for fourth in defence scoring last season and led all rookies in penalty minutes ... Last season, the Rush were 8-3 when leading after the first quarter, 7-1 when up a halftime, and 10-1 when ahead after three quarters. The Rush were also 4-1 in one-goal games.
Milestone Watch: Defenceman Nik Bilic returned is one forced turnover away from reaching 100 for his career. Last weekend against Vancouver, Rush transition Jeremy Thompson earned two assists to reach 100 points for his career.
Rush vs. Knighthawks -Season-by-Season Glance
21-12 Rush win (Robert Church and Mark Matthews combine for eight goals and 13 assists)
16-8 Rush win (Mark Matthews notches 11 points including four goals)
13-9 Rush win (Zack Greer scored five goals and Mark Matthews notched seven points)
11-8 Rush win (Mark Matthews and Ben McIntosh both with two goals and two assists)
16-3 Rush win (Mark Matthews and Robert Church both register seven points)
15-11 Rush win (Mark Matthews and Curtis Knight each with six-point games)
8-7 OT Rush win (Mark Matthews scores overtime winner)
14-10 Rush win (Zack Greer racks up four goals and four assists)
11-9 Rush win (Zack Greer paces Rush attack with four goals)
*9-6 Knighthawks win (Cody Jamieson racks up eight points including four goals)
*denotes playoff game - Champion's Cup Final
13-9 Knighthawks win (Mike Accursi scores four goals against former club)
12-11 Rush OT win (Andy Secore completes hat trick with game-winner)
10-9 Rush OT win (Jimmy Quinlan scores twice and adds three assists)
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