Matteo Nobile, NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©
Featured Image Photo Credit: Saskatchewan Rush
On Friday February 22nd, the Sasktel Centre held 12,462 Rush Nation fans as the Saskatchewan Rush (5-4) hosted the Colorado Mammoth (3-6) in a low scoring defensive battle. Both goalies were stone walls on the night; and between the two only allowed 15 goals. Evan Kirk of the Rush gave up seven goals on 43 shots, which earned him the first star of the game. Dillon Ward played an equally impressive game for the Mammoth only allowing eight goals on 48 shots but the Mammoth offense could not get it done on the other side of the floor. Saskatchewan’s offense was led by Mark Matthews (2G, 3A); and Jeff Shattler (3G). Fortunately for the Rush, Shattler was able to carry his momentum from last week’s game winning goal against the Vancouver Warriors. The majority of the Mammoths goals came from Ryan Lee (2G); and rookie Kyle Killen (2G, 2A). The final goal for the Rush came off of an open net as the Mammoth pulled Ward for the extra attacker. Final score: Saskatchewan – 9, Colorado – 7.
The first goal came fairly early into the quarter. After a boarding penalty from Jeremy Thompson (1A) the Rush were able to take advantage of a shorthanded situation. Matthew Dinsdale (1G, 1A) came around a high pick and took a shot from the point to put in low short side. After a 10 minute scoring drought from both teams the Mammoth got their first of the night to tie the game. After Kirk made a great save on Jacob Ruest (1G, 3A) on what looked like an easy quick stick goal, Lee picked up the rebound and with a diving effort was able to put it in the back of the net. The Rush would go ahead as Shattler got open and shot over the right shoulder of Ward after throwing a pump fake that froze the defense. The score after the first 15 was 2-1 in favor of Saskatchewan.
Colorado would start up the second as Killen used his speed, ran down the alley getting a good look and squeaked it between the post and the hips of Kirk tying the game at two apiece. After another long scoring drought, Matthews would get an easy goal as a confused Mammoth defense failed to commit to him; and after taking a couple crow hops Matthews made no mistake and buried it top right corner. Chris Corbeil (1G) would pick up a rebound right on the crease and with no defenders around him he’d score with the ball going in top left corner. The Mammoth took advantage of their second power play of night and after some passing around the horn Ryan Benesch (1G, 4A) found himself at the point. Both defenders looked to go but neither committed and a wide open shot resulted in a goal for Colorado bringing them to within one with the Rush still leading 4-3. Kyle Rubisch (1A) looked to shoot from the top left but found Matthews open on the far side crease and with Ward out respecting the outside shot it resulted in an easy quick stick goal for Matthews. After the first half Saskatchewan would still hold the lead 5-3.
Killen would start out the third for the Mammoth once more as he shot over his defender, and although Kirk’s jersey got a piece of it the shot still hit the back of the net. Mammoth forward Jeremy Noble (1A) who is still in a scoring drought would be nailed with a goalie interference penalty and the Rush would capitalize off a behind the back pass from Ryan Keenan (2A) leaving Shattler wide open on the crease, and an underhand bounce shot would result in a power play goal. Another power play goal for the Rush would come off of a dive from behind the net. Ben McIntosh (1G) received the pass from left side of the floor and dove from behind the net putting it far side. This power play opportunity came off of an illegal cross checking penalty on Dan Coates. After three, the Rush would still lead 7-4 going into the fourth.
It only took 39 seconds into the final quarter and Travis Cornwall would be called for holding, giving the Mammoth get the first goal of fourth. Eli McLaughlin (1G, 1A) scored on an outside shot that he put over the left shoulder of Kirk. Shattler would get his third of the night off a very impressive play, as the defender was charging him he pump faked, then toe drags his defender and shot from way outside finding the back of the net between the legs of Ward. But Colorado would answer back as Benesch found Ruest cutting through the middle; Ruest threw a couple fakes scoring far side low. The next Mammoth goal came from Lee as Killen executed a perfect pick and roll, a low pick and roll set by Lee and with a shovel pass from Killen gave Lee a wide open look at the net brining the game to within one 8-7. Mammoth Head Coach Pat Coyle made the decision to pull Ward in the last minute of the game in favor of an extra attacker, but after a great defensive effort the Rush would get the ball back and Brett Mydske (1G) would score on the open net. Final score: Saskatchewan 9—Colorado 7.
Saskatchewan (5-4) will host their Canadian neighbors the Calgary Roughnecks (5-5) on Saturday March 2, game time 10:00 p.m. EST.
The Colorado Mammoth (3-6) will head cross country to New England to face the Black Wolves (5-4) on Sunday March 3, game time 1:00 p.m. EST.
Matteo Nobile, NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©