Rush vs. Mammoth Western Division Semi-Final Game Notes
Saskatchewan Rush (W1) vs. Colorado Mammoth (W4)
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The drive for a second set of back-to-back NLL championship begins for the Saskatchewan Rush as they take on the Colorado Mammoth in a West Division Semifinal.
The three-time champion Rush are the reigning NLL title-holders after winning the NLL Cup a year ago, taking a best-of-three championship series from the Rochester Knighthawks 2-1. The Rush have won the league title in 2015, 2016 and 2018. The road to the 2019 title begins in Saskatoon with a one-game semifinal showdown against the Mammoth. Last Saturday, the Rush (11-7) completed the regular season with a 13-8 win over the Mammoth (6-12). Saskatchewan enters the playoffs with seven wins in their last 10 games, while Colorado enters on a four-game losing skid. The Rush also have won seven straight and 12 of the last 14 regular-season games against the Mammoth.
The Rush and Mammoth have met just once in playoff action with Saskatchewan taking a 2-0 series sweep in the 2017 West Division Final. Saskatchewan opened up a 1-0 lead in the series when they blasted the Mammoth 18-9 in Denver behind a second-half offensive explosion that saw the Rush score 14 goals, including nine in the fourth quarter. Saskatchewan's dominant second-half against the Mammoth set franchise single-game playoff records for total goals, goals in one half, and goals in one quarter. Adam Jones scored six goals for Saskatchewan against his former team with former Denver University star Mark Matthews also finishing the game with nine points including two goals. Ben McIntosh, with four goals, Robert Church, with a pair, and singles from Ryan Keenan, Mike Messenger, Tor Reinholdt, and Curtis Knight accounted for the rest of the Rush scoring.
The Rush completed the two-game sweep by winning Game 2 in Saskatoon 11-10. Mike Messenger evened the game at 10 with 1:27 to go and Ryan Keenan notched the game-winner with 45 seconds left in regulation. Mark Matthews, Ben McIntosh, and Robert Church each scored twice for the Rush with Adam Jones and Marty Dinsdale adding one each.
Last Saturday's win over the Mammoth completed a second consecutive season-series sweep by the Rush over Colorado. The Rush went on an 8-0 run to begin the game and took an 11-1 cushion into halftime. Ryan Keenan (1 goal, 5 assists) and Marty Dinsdale (4 goals, 2 assists) each had six-point nights, Mark Matthews added a hat trick, Jeff Shattler and Curtis Knight scored two goals apiece and Robert Church had a single. Saskatchewan has beaten Colorado twice this season both by identical 9-7 scores. The Rush beat the Mammoth in Denver back on April 6th behind two goals each from Ryan Keenan, Mark Matthews and Robert Church along with singles from Scott Campbell, Jeff Shattler and Ben McIntosh. The Rush also defeated the Mammoth on February 22nd at SaskTel Centre behind a hat trick from Jeff Shattler and a five-point night for Mark Matthews. Ben McIntosh, Marty Dinsdale, Chris Corbeil, and Brett Mydske also scored for the Rush in that game.
MILESTONE MINUTE: Robert Church collected his 200th career regular-season goal last Saturday against Colorado ... Ben McIntosh passed Zack Greer and moved into third place on the Rush's all-time leaders list in both points (359) and goals (192), while Curtis Knight (185) dodged past Ryan Ward and moved into third on the all-time assist list. Meanwhile, Kyle Rubisch (137) and Chris Corbeil (133) moved into second and third spot, respectively, on the Rush's all-time games played list, moving past both Jimmy Quinlan and Ryan Dilks. Brett Mydske leads the way with 170.
Statistically Speaking: The Rush's Mark Matthews finished in a tie for third in the NLL scoring race, knotting Georgia's Lyle Thompson with 105 points. They finished 10 behind scoring champ Dane Dobbie of Calgary. Matthews finished tied for seventh in assists (64) and tied for fourth in goals at 41 with teammate Ben McIntosh ... Jeff Shattler of the Rush led the NLL with five game-winning goals. He also finished the regular season tied for 15th with 34 goals and tied for sixth in shorthanded goals with two ... Saskatchewan ended the season with the top-ranked power play at 57.4%, scoring 31 goals on 54 power-play opportunities. That was the fewest opportunities in the league - 10 less than Georgia ... Mark Matthews finished tied for seventh with nine power-play goals with Ben McIntosh right behind with eight. Matthews also finished tied for sixth with 17 power-play assists ... The Rush drastically improved their penalty kill down the stretch and wound up moving from last to seventh at 52.1% with seven shorthanded goals ... Colorado got 10 power-play goals from Kyle Killen during the season, but still wound up last in the league on the man-advantage at just 37.5% (30-for-80). The Mammoth did have the sixth-best penalty kill at 52.8% with four shorthanded goals, three coming from Ryan Lee ... The Rush's Jeremy Thompson led the NLL with 208 loose-ball scoops and he wound up third in faceoff wins with 263 ... Rush defenceman Kyle Rubisch was tops in the NLL with 45 caused turnovers. Teammates Mike Messenger (fifth, 31), Jeremy Thompson (eighth, 25) and Chris Corbeil (11th, 24) were also amongs the league-leaders. Colorado's Joey Cupido finished fourth with 33 caused turnovers ... The Rush's Matt Hossack finished tied for fifth amongst defencemen with 17 points and tied for fourth with 14 assists ... Rush goalie Adam Shute ended the regular season second in the league with a 10.30 goals-against average. Colorado's Dillon Ward was fourth at 10.84 ... The Mammoth's Kyle Killen finished third in rookie scoring with 49 points and second with 28 goals ... 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 ... 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 ... Rush goalie Evan Kirk led the league with 12 wins.
By the Numbers: Saskatchewan won the NLL attendance derby again this season with an average of 13,459 which was 413 better than Buffalo ... The Rush finished the season first in the West with 222 goals. They were third in goals scored per game average with 12.33 and fourth in goals allowed at 11.22 per game. Colorado was one of only two teams in the league this season that scored less than 200 goals. The Mammoth finished 10th in goals scored at 10.06 per game but they were second in goals allowed at 10.72 per game ... The Rush ended the regular season with 7-2 record at home and 9-3 versus the West. They were also 9-1 when leading after the first quarter, 10-0 when leading at halftime, 10-0 when leading after three quarters, and 8-3 when they outshoot their opposition ... Colorado finished up 3-6 on the road, 4-8 versus the West and the Mammoth were outscored 47-24 in first-quarter play ... The Rush's Mark Matthews finished fourth in the league's Three Star Award voting with 28 points (4 x First Star, 2 x Second Star, 2 x Third Star) ... The Rush's Nik Bilic led the NLL with 61 penalty minutes ... 2018 Regular Season: 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 ... 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).
Rush vs. Mammoth - Season-by-Season Glance
13-8 Rush win (Ryan Keenan and Marty Dinsdale both rack up six points)
9-7 Rush win (Mark Matthews, Ryan Keenan and Robert Church each potted two goals)
9-7 Rush win (Jeff Shattler with the hat trick and Mark Matthews with five points)
11-8 Rush win (Mark Matthews and Robert Church both notch seven-point games)
17-12 Rush win (Ben McIntosh racks up 10 points on two goals and eight assists)
13-10 Rush win (Ryan Keenan has first four-goal game in NLL)
*11-10 Rush win (Mark Matthews leads with six points including four assists)
*18-9 Rush win (Adam Jones registers nine points featuring six second-half
10-9 Rush win (Ben McIntosh notches hat trick plus one assist)
14-10 Mammoth win (Jamie Noble leads with seven points)
12-11 OT Rush win (Ben McIntosh racks up four goals including the overtime
8-7 Rush win (Ben McIntosh scores two goals)
*Denotes West Division Final playoff game
11-8 Rush win (Ben McIntosh and Curtis Knight each collect hat trick)
11-5 Rush win (Ben McIntosh scores four goals)
9-7 Mammoth win (Dillon Ward totals 47 saves)
12-10 Rush win (Mark Matthews racked up six points including four goals)
13-10 Rush win (Mark Matthews & Marty Dinsdale both with seven-point games)
13-12 Rush win (Mark Matthews notches nine points including four goals)
11-7 Rush win (Mark Matthews & Zack Greer both with four-goal games)
10-8 Mammoth win (John Grant Jr. paces attack with four goals)
12-11 Rush win (Cory Conway registers six points including five assists)
17-6 Rush win (Mark Matthews & Zack Greer each score five goals)
13-10 Rush win (Curtis Knight tallies three goals and three assists)
9-7 Mammoth win (Tye Belanger makes 48 saves)
14-7 Rush win (Mark Matthews tops scoring with five goals)
14-11 Rush win (Zack Greer leads the way with two goals)
11-7 Mammoth win (Adam Jones, John Grant Jr., and Jordan McBride each
notch hat tricks)
13-12 Mammoth win (John Grant Jr. leads with five goals and four assists)
13-6 Mammoth win
14-13 Rush win (Scott Evans leads with four goals and two assists)
7-6 Mammoth win (John Grant Jr. notches two goals and two assists)
14-10 Mammoth win (Jamie Shewchuk collects nine points including four
14-13 Rush win (Ryan Ward scores four goals and adds three assists)
13-9 Rush win (Ryan Ward notches hat trick plus four assists)
11-9 Rush win (Ryan Benesch has eight-point game including five assists)
10-9 Rush win (Callum Crawford nets four goals and adds two assists)
10-9 Mammoth win (Jamie Shewchuk scores twice and adds two assists)
14-11 Mammoth win (Dan Carey pots hat trick plus three assists
15-4 Mammoth win (Jamie Shewchuk notches seven points)
13-8 Mammoth win (Jamie Shewchuk produces seven points)
16-9 Mammoth win (Jamie Shewchuk notches hat trick plus two assists)
16-7 Mammoth win (Dan Carey leads with two goals and three assists)
15-10 Mammoth win (Dan Stroup collects six points including hat trick)
13-7 Mammoth win (Ben Prepchuk racks up six points including four assists)
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