Rush vs. Wings Game Notes
Saskatchewan Rush (5-2) vs. Philadelphia Wings (7-3)
6:00 PM CST, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2020
WELLS FARGO CENTER
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After a dramatic overtime win last weekend in Halifax, the Saskatchewan Rush are back on the road this Saturday making the trip to the City of Brotherly Love to take on the Philadelphia Wings.
Both the Rush and the Wings lead their respective divisions, and both teams enter the matchup having won two straight and four of their last five games. The Rush kept their spot atop the West Division and remained unbeaten on the road with a 16-15 overtime thriller against the Thunderbirds. Meanwhile, the Wings soared to back-to-back road wins over Buffalo and New England last weekend to maintain top spot in the East Division.
Saskatchewan has a two-game lead over Colorado and Calgary and hold four games in-hand over the Mammoth. Philadelphia leads the East by one game over Georgia, but the Swarm have two games in-hand.
This is the lone meeting between the Rush and Wings this season, and is just the sixth meeting all-time between the teams with the Rush holding a 4-1 lead. Last season, the new edition of the Wings were an NLL expansion franchise and they were handed a 16-11 loss by the Rush in Saskatoon, less than 24 hours after Saskatchewan had won on the road in San Diego. Mark Matthews and Ben McIntosh both scored five markers for the Rush, who were slow out of the gates but scored seven unanswered goals in the fourth quarter to take the win. Jeff Shattler, with a pair, Robert Church, Kyle Rubisch, Chris Corbeil and Marty Dinsdale also scored for the Rush while Adam Shute racked up 42 saves in his first home-turf win. The trio of Robert Church, Mark Matthews and Ryan Keenan combined for 15 assists.
Robert Church scored twice when the Rush beat the Wings 8-6 in Philadelphia back in 2014, and Zack Greer had a hat trick in the Rush's 12-10 over the Wings in 2012. Former Rush assistant coach Jimmy Quinlan was on the turf in 2008 and scored five goals when the Rush defeated the Wings 13-12.
LAST GAME: The Rush built up a big lead on the road and then had it slip away in the fourth quarter, but they still managed to escape Halifax with a 16-15 overtime victory over the Thunderbirds. Mike Messenger notched the OT winner for the Rush after both teams each had what looked to be a winning goal reversed upon video review. Ben McIntosh scored four goals for the Rush with hat tricks being added by Ryan Keenan and Robert Church, while Mark Matthews had a goal and five assists. Chris Corbeil (shorthanded), Justin Robinson (first NLL goal), Marty Dinsdale, and Ryan Dilks each added goals for the Rush with Evan Kirk totaling 42 saves.
ALTERNA CUP: The Rush's overtime win over Halifax gave them their first win in the season-long Alterna Cup derby - the head-to-head regular-season championship between the NLL's Canadian teams. After beating Vancouver at home, the Toronto Rock have the lead with a 2-0 mark with the Rush right behind at 1-0 and Calgary next at 1-1. Halifax dropped to 1-2 with Vancouver now at 0-2.
ROAD WARRIORS: The Rush (4-0) and New England Black Wolves (2-0) are the only NLL teams that are undefeated on the road so far this season.
MILESTONE MINUTE: Jeff Shattler reached the 500 assist mark for his NLL career with his first of two helpers against Halifax. Robert Church, who had three assists against the Thunderbirds, needs three more to reach 300, and Ryan Keenan needs four points to hit the 200 plateau. Ryan Dilks notched seven loose balls in Halifax putting him over 500 for his career. Dilks needs just four caused turnovers to reach 200, while Matt Hossack needs one loose ball for 200 in his young career.
FAMILIAR FACES: This will be the first time the Rush face former teammate Nick Finlay, who was traded to Philadelphia before the start of this season in exchange for a 2020 third-round draft pick. It will also be the second time the Rush face Wings GM/Head Coach Paul Day, who was first-ever head coach in Rush franchise history.
Statistically Speaking: Mark Matthews leads the Rush in points (33) and assists (24), while Ben McIntosh leads the team with 14 goals. McIntosh has scored 12 goals in his last four games ... Kevin Crowley leads Philadelphia and sits second in league scoring with 51 points with Brett Hickey fourth in the NLL with 22 goals. Hickey also leads the league with four game-winning goals ... The Rush went 2-for-4 on the power play against Halifax and have the league's sixth-ranked power play at 46.2% (12-for-26). Mark Matthews is tied for 11th with eight power-play assists ... Philadelphia has the eighth-ranked power play at 44.2% (19-for-43). Kevin Crowley is third with 11 power-play assists ... The Rush gave up five power-play goals against Halifax and are last in the league on the penalty kill at 40.7% (16 goals allowed in 27 shorthanded situations). The Rush are the only team in the NLL who have not committed a five-minute major penalty ... Philadelphia is ranked fourth on the penalty kill at 61.3% (12 goals allowed in 31 shorthanded situations). The Wings have scored four shorthanded goals and allowed four shorthanded goals against, and they lead the NLL with seven bench minor penalties ... Rush defenceman Ryan Dilks continues his stellar play since returning this season as he leads the NLL with 20 caused turnovers. Teammate Mike Messenger, the OT hero last weekend, is tied for seventh with 12 caused turnovers ... Rush defenceman Kyle Rubisch is 14th in the league with 65 loose balls and he is tied for 12th amongst defenceman with seven points ... Wings transition Trevor Baptiste leads the NLL in loose balls (108) and faceoff wins (175). Philadelphia leads the NLL with a 76.4% faceoff win percentage (162-for-212) ... 2018-29: Last season, the Rush's Mark Matthews finished in a tie for third in the NLL scoring race with 105 points. 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 ... 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 ... Rush defenceman Kyle Rubisch was tops in the NLL with 45 caused turnovers.
By the Numbers: The Rush's team shooting percentage took a nice jump up after scoring 16 goals last weekend. They now stand 10th in the league at 13.6% ... It's been a breakout season for Wings goalie Zach Higgins. He leads the NLL in wins (seven), goals-against average (8.76) and save-percentage (.828) and is second in total saves (425) ... Rush netminder Evan Kirk is tied for third in wins (five) and is seventh in both goals-against average (9.54) and save-percentage (.802) ... Ben McIntosh lead the Rush in Three Star Award voting with 14 points (2 x First Star, 1 x Second Star, 1 x Third Star) with Robert Church trailing with 10 points (2 x First Star). Zach Higgins leads the Wings with 22 points (4 x First Star, 2 x Third Star) ... The Rush are eighth in the league in goals-scored per game (10.1) but stand third in goals-allowed per game (9.6). The Wings are seventh in goals-scored per game (11.2) but lead the NLL in goals-allowed per game (8.8) ... So far this season, the Rush are 4-0 when they lead at halftime and 4-0 when they lead after three quarters. The Wings are 4-0 when they lead after the first quarter but 0-3 when they trail after the first ... The Rush have outscored their opponents 20-11 in first-quarter action this season ... The Wings hold the NLL's single-game highs so far this season in power-play goals (seven) and shorthanded goals (three) ... 2018-19: Saskatchewan won the NLL attendance derby again last 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 ... 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.
Rush vs. Wings - Season-By-Season Glance
16-11 Rush win (Ben McIntosh and Mark Matthews each pot five goals)
8-6 Rush win (Robert Church, Riley Loewen and Curtis Knight each score twice)
12-100 Rush win (Zack Greer fires in hat trick)
14-9 Wings win (Merrick Thomson collects sock trick with six goals)
13-12 Rush win (Jimmy Quinlan scores five goals in front of hometown crowd)
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