Rush vs. Stealth Game Notes
Saskatchewan Rush (7-1) vs. Vancouver Stealth (1-7)
9:00PM (CST), February 10th 2018
Langley Events Centre, Langley BC
Watch: NLLTV, SaskTel maxTV Ch. 49/349
Listen: 98 COOL
For the second time in a week, the Saskatchewan Rush will put their winning streak on the line in a matchup against the Vancouver Stealth.
The Rush are in the midst of a three-game winning streak which got a significant boost last weekend as they captured both games in a two-game weekend, including a 11-9 victory in Saskatoon over the Stealth. With the win, the Rush into a two-game lead atop the NLL's overall standings as well as in the West Division. Saskatchewan is in front of both Colorado and New England by two games, though the Mammoth and Black Wolves have two games in-hand on the Rush. The Rush's current winning streak also includes last Friday's 13-10 decision in Denver over the Mammoth.
Saskatchewan has won three of its last four meetings against Vancouver and hold an all-time regular-season record of 19-15 versus the Stealth franchise. The 2018 season has been a rough one so far for the Stealth as they lost their first four games and are now on a three-game losing skid. Vancouver trails Calgary by 1.5 games for the third and final playoff spot in the West. The Rush and Stealth will meet two more times this season - March 3 in Saskatoon and April 13 in Vancouver.
The Rush opened up last weekend's doubleheader in Denver and catapulted themselves to the win with a fourth-quarter surge that launched with captain Chris Corbeil's shorthanded goal to pull the Rush within one late in the third. Saskatchewan outscored Colorado 6-2 in the fourth to take the win. Ryan Keenan put up the first four-goal game of his career, potting two of his goals during his team's fourth-quarter takeover. Robert Church had a hat trick plus three assists, Marty Dinsdale and Ben McIntosh each scored twice, and Matt Hossack notched the eventual game-winner.
Less than 24 hours later, the Rush jumped out quickly and then closed the door late on the Stealth to secure the victory before a crowd of 14,387 at Co-op Field at SaskTel Centre. Curtis Knight, Robert Church, Ryan Keenan, Mark Matthews, and Ben McIntosh each scored twice for Saskatchewan with Mike Messenger adding a single. The hero for the Rush on the night was goaltender Tyler Carlson as the backup netminder made his first appearance of the season, turned aside the first 10 shots he faced and finished with 39 saves.
The Rush swept the season series from the Stealth in both 2014 and 2015 with three victories, but since then the two teams have gone back and forth with Vancouver winning two of three in 2016 and Saskatchewan winning two of three last year. In fact, the Stealth won only five games in 2016 but two came at the expense of the Rush including the team's first home game wearing Saskatchewan colors.
Saskatchewan put a wrap on last year's season series with a 16-12 win as Mark Matthews managed a hat trick and four assists while Adam Jones fired in four goals. Ryan Keenan and Ben McIntosh each scored twice in the win with Mike Messenger, Jeff Cornwall, Robert Church, Adrian Sorichetti, and Jeremy Thompson adding one apiece.
Prior to that victory, the Rush were stymied by a 55-save performance by Stealth goalie Tye Belanger in a 13-9 loss at Vancouver. Robert Church and Adam Jones each scored twice in that game with singles going to Curtis Knight, Jeff Cornwall, Ryan Keenan, Adrian Sorichetti, and Ben McIntosh. In the first meeting between the teams last season, the Rush got four goals from Robert Church and eight assists from Mark Matthews in a 16-12 win over the Stealth in Saskatoon. Jeff Cornwall notched a hat trick for the Rush, while Curtis Knight and Adam Jones each added a pair. Ryan Dilks, Marty Dinsdale, Adrian Sorichetti, Jeremy Thompson, and Ben McIntosh each scored once for the Rush.
Statistically Speaking: Mark Matthews has moved into a tie for first in NLL scoring with former teammate Adam Jones. The Rush star has 49 points with current teammates Robert Church tied for third with 47 points and Ben McIntosh tied for seventh with 41 points ... The Rush Ben McIntosh leads the NLL in both goals (22) and power-play goals (8). Robert Church is tied for third with 19 goals and Mark Matthews is tied for ninth with 15 goals ... Saskatchewan's Mark Matthews is on top of the NLL with 34 assists, and Robert Church is fourth with 28 helpers ... The Rush continue to boast the NLL's number-one ranked power play now at 69.4% (25-for-36). Right behind Ben McIntosh in power-play goals is Rush teammate Ryan Keenan who is tied for second with seven and fellow Rush Robert Church is tied for sixth with four on the man-advantage. Mark Matthews leads the NLL with 14 power-play assists and Robert Church is right behind in second with 12 ... The Rush penalty kill is ranked fourth at 54.3% and Saskatchewan is tied for the league-lead with six shorthanded goals. Rush captain Chris Corbeil is tied for first in the NLL with two shorthanded goals and fellow defenceman Ryan Dilks is tied for first with two shorthanded assists ... The Stealth's power play is second-worst in the league at just 35.7% and the Stealth have given up a league-high eight shorthanded goals. Vancouver's penalty kill is ranked sixth at 48.6% ... Rush goalie Evan Kirk leads the NLL with six wins and he is first with 274 total saves. Kirk is ranked third with a 11.22 goals-against average and fourth with .776 save-percentage ... Stealth goalie Eric Penney has moved from third-stringer to the team's number-one netminder. In just four starts he has a .769 save-percentage ... The Rush's Ben McIntosh stands fourth in the Three Star Award voting with 13 points (2 x First Star, 1 x Second Star) with Evan Kirk in sixth spot with 11 points (1 x First Star, 2 x Second Star) ... After scoring four goals against the Rush last Saturday, Vancouver's Logan Schuss is tied for third with 19 goals ... The Stealth's Corey Small is tied for fifth with 27 assists ... 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 eight straight games, while teammates Mark Matthews, Curtis Knight, Robert Church, and Ryan Keenan have picked up assists in eight 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 123 goals and stand second with an average of 15.38 goals per game. The Rush are tops in the league at 11.00 goals allowed per game ... Vancouver has given up 118 goals - 20 more than Buffalo which has played one fewer games. The Stealth rank last in the league in goals for per game (10.13) and goals against per game (14.75) ... The Rush's Curtis Knight leads the NLL with three game-winning goals and teammate Jeremy Thompson is tops in both faceoff wins (111) and loose ball scoops (72). Rush defenceman Kyle Rubisch is tied for second with 67 loose balls ... Saskatchewan leads the NLL with a team shooting percentage of 21.6%. Rush transition Adrian Sorichetti is second in the NLL with a 58.3% mark (7 goals on 12 shots) and teammate Chris Corbeil is seventh at 44.4% (4 goals on 9 shots) ... The Rush's Brett Mydske and Kyle Rubisch stand sixth and seventh, respectively, in the NLL in forced turnovers (12 and 11) ... The Rush have outscored their opposition 26-10 in first-quarter action, and 37-21 in second quarters, but the opposition has got the better of them 28-26 in fourth quarters ... Vancouver has trailed at halftime in six of their games this season and lost all six. The Stealth have been outscored 36-15 in first-quarter play and 27-14 in fourth quarters ... The Stealth are averaging 23.25 penalty minutes per game so far this season. Saskatchewan is at 10.00. Vancouver's Brendan Clelland (38) and Joel McCready (29) rank first and third, respectively, in penalty minutes ... 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: During last weekend's doubleheader, the Rush's Kyle Rubisch reached the mark of 200 penalty minutes for his career ... Defenceman Nik Bilic returned to the Rush lineup after missing half of last season and the entire start of this year due to injury. He is now just two forced turnovers away from reaching 100 for his career.
Rush vs. Stealth - Season-by-Season Glance
11-9 Rush win (Robert Church scores twice and adds five assists for seven-point game)
16-12 Rush win (Mark Matthews tops scoring with hat trick and four assists)
13-9 Stealth win (Tye Belanger makes 55 saves)
16-12 Rush win (Robert Church racks up four goals and Mark Matthews chips in eight assists)
14-12 Stealth win (Logan Schuss and Joel McCready each scored four goals)
24-16 Rush win (Zack Greer records career-high 11 points including five goals)
13-11 Stealth win (Corey Small fires in five goals against his former team)
17-10 Rush win (Robert Church racks up nine points with five goals and four assists)
15-14 OT Rush win (Zack Greer scored four goals including overtime game-winner)
19-7 Rush win (Mark Matthews and Tyler Melnyk both score four goals)
10-5 Rush win (Aaron Bold totals 40 saves for the victory)
10-9 Rush win (Robert Church notches hat trick)
9-8 Rush win (Curtis Knight, Zack Greer, & Mark Matthews each score two goals)
*12-11 Stealth win (Rhys Duch notches four goals and two assists)
15-10 Rush win (Mark Matthews registers 'sock trick' with six goals)
12-10 Stealth win (Rhys Duch collects two goals and two assists)
18-10 Rush win (Mark Matthews ties team record with nine points)
*denotes playoff game - West Division Semifinal
10-9 Rush win (Zack Greer paces Rush with four goals)
16-5 Rush win (Corey Small ties team record with nine-point game)
14-12 Rush win (Scott Evans scores one goal and adds seven loose balls)
15-14 Rush win (Corey Small notches three goals and three assists)
18-10 Stealth win (Lewis Ratcliff racks up nine points including four goals)
*12-11 Stealth OT win (Paul Rabil notches game-winner eight seconds into OT)
15-7 Stealth win (Lewis Ratcliff scores twice and adds five assists)
14-13 Rush OT win (Gavin Prout connects for seven points including three goals)
14-13 Rush win (Ryan Ward leads the way with four goals)
*denotes playoff game - West Division Final
16-6 Stealth win (Cam Sedgwick scores four goals and adds two assists)
11-10 Stealth win (Jeff Zywicki racks up seven points including three goals)
11-8 Stealth win (Colin Doyle notches four goals and adds two assists)
12-5 Rush win (Jimmy Quinlan picks up the hat trick)
14-6 Stealth win (Colin Doyle chips in four assists)
11-9 Stealth win (Jeff Zywicki counts five points including three goals)
14-7 Stealth win (Jeff Zywicki notches nine-point game including five goals)
9-8 Stealth win (Colin Doyle paces attack with five points)
10-9 Stealth OT win (Jeff Zywicki scores three goals including game-winner)
12-11 Stealth win (Jeff Zywicki picks up hat trick plus two assists)
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- Rush vs. Stealth Game Notes - Saskatchewan Rush
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