Di Miller, NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©
Photo Credit: M. Bowen
On Saturday March 4, 2023 the Panther City Lacrosse Club (7-5) hosted the Saskatchewan Rush (5-5) at Dickie’s Arena in Ft. Worth, TX. This was the second meeting of the two teams this year and with the close race in the Western Division each game for the top teams is pivotal in the standings. The Rush were sitting in 3rd in the West while, Panther City LC was sitting in 4th. The PCLC squad had only won a total of seven games in their inaugural season in 2021-22 and a win tonight would match that tally so they were definitely looking for the victory. One of the veterans, Callum Crawford was close to making history as well as he only needed three goals to reach 450 and become the 11th player in NLL history to hit that mark. Although there weren’t many fans in the stands, they sure made a lot of noise on Texas Forever Night as the team was donning special jerseys which would be auctioned off. In the end, PCLC would go on a 7-3 run in the fourth to even the series at 1-1 and move into 3rd in the West. Final Score: Panther City 16—Rush 10.
The Rush started out quickly winning the opening draw and Dan Lintner (2g, 1a) on the off ball cut would go low near side and get them on the board 24 seconds in 1-0. Panther City’s Will Malcolm (5g, 3a) would even it up at the 3:37 mark when he cut his defender off with an “S” dodge, jumped in front of the crease and put it far side under the arm of Alex Buque and it was 1-1. It didn’t take long for Saskatchewan to put up the go ahead goal. At 4:28, Robert Church (4g, 3a) from out in front got his hands free and used an overhand shot to put it in on the near side post and it was 2-1. The teams battled back and forth for about five minutes before Mark Matthews used a face dodge, sold the defender on the wind up, and dished to Mike Mallory (1g) on the left side and he put it near side with 6:35 in the frame for the two goal lead 3-1. Matthews would get hit with a holding call putting PCLC on the man-up and they made them pay. Jonathan Donville (2g, 5a) slipped underneath the defense and as he tip toed the crease put a crazy angle shot under the arm glove side for a power-play marker with 4:22 to go 3-2. With 1:25 on the ticker, in transition Callum Crawford grabbed the loosie, pulled away from the double team and used a backhand feed to Tony Malcolm (1g) who dropped it in under the glove for the equalizer. This was the final goal in the first. Score at the end of one: PCLC 3—Rush 3.
Fans would see only four goals in the second but would happily see three of them scored by the home squad. It took a bit for the low scoring frame to get going and Saskatchewan would put up a power-play tally on a delay of game call. Matthews faded to create separation, dished to Church and he stung the top shelf at the 4:50 mark for a power-play goal to put them up by one 4-3. From them on it was all PCLC. Once again, another five minutes had ticked off the timer before a ball would hit twine. With the shot clock winding down, W. Malcolm got the dish from Donville and with 2 seconds on the shot clock used a quick release and got Buque off balance and he got it to go through the wickets to tie it up again 4-4. The teams would exchange possessions for three before Phil Caputo (2g) picked up the garbage, dove in front of the crease and put it far pipe with 1:50 to go in the half and PCLC had their first lead of the contest 5-4. The next goal was a beauty. Crawford used a spin move and waited for Donville to get open in front of the crease, threw a “no look” pass to Donville out in front and he put it over the shoulder with 50.1 on the clock. That was it in the second quarter. First Half Stats: Saskatchewan—SOG 21; Saves 24; Sv% .800; FO 5-12; PP 1-2; LB 33; TO 14. Panther City—SOG 30; Saves 17; Sv% .810; FO 7-12; PP 2-3; LB 40; TO 17. Score at the end of two: PCLC 6—Rush 4.
PCLC would win the draw to open the third and would also be the first to score. Each team would match goal for goal as well. W. Malcolm had a nice feed to Mathieu Gautier (1g, 3a) who slipped to the inside and with his toes on the crease leaned in and dumped it over the right shoulder at 3:14 and it was 7-4. The Rush would finally halt the run at the 6:30 mark when Church worked his way past the defender, went straight down the middle, was wide open and fired one low and away for his hat-trick and it was 7-5. PCLC would strike back with 6:21 to go when W. Malcom came across from the right side, jumped up in front of the crease, used a reverse twister shot and dunked it far side for his hat-trick 8-5. But they let their guards down and right after the ensuing draw, they gave Church too much space and he fired it far side 17 seconds later closing the gap back to two 8-6. The next penalty was probably one of the worst ever called. PCLC was called for “delay of game” because the ball bounced off the shoe of Phil Caputo so he went to the sin bin for two with 5:21 in the third. It took almost the full penalty but the Rush would still notch a man-up tally. Lintner sent the cross crease feed to Clark Walter (1g, 1a) and he was standing by the back side post and used a quick stick to put it near pipe before Damude could slide back and he’d notch the power-play tally with 3:39 to go 8-7. The final goal in the third would come from W. Malcolm when he fired an overhand shot through traffic with 1:05 to go. Score at the end of three: PCLC 9—Rush 7.
PCLC would outscore the Rush 7-3 in the fourth. They started off on a three-goal run the first a short-handed goal with 24 seconds left on the penalty. Callum Crawford (2g, 3a) backed in and catapulted up and across the crease to put it far post and it was 10-7 at the 2:50 mark. The next goal came at the 6:19 mark and 2 seconds on the shot clock. Donville fed to W. Malcolm on the run and he fired it far post for his fifth on the night 11-7. It took only 20 seconds for Matt Hossack (1a) to find Josh Medeiros in transition and he snuck it past Buque and it was 12-7. Rush Bench Boss Jimmy Quinlan had seen enough and pulled Buque in favor of Eric Penney. It took 30 seconds for the Rush to finally halt the run. Jake Boudreau (1g, 1a) in transition on the run, got the feed from Messenger, fired it down low and Damude got a piece of it but it trickled in at the 6:59 mark and it was 12-8. But PCLC was on fire and with 6:28 in the fourth, PCLC would go on yet another four-goal run which was started by none other than Damude. He sent an outlet pass to Medeiros on the break and he hit top right corner 13-8. Then Crawford with a spin dodge, then swim move, then a face dodge, twisted and fired it over the shoulder of Penney with 5:41 to go and it was 14-8. The Rush decided to go with the empty net with 5:26 to go and use the 6 on 5. Thirty-one seconds later, Damude would send another outlet pass this time the recipient was Tyler Burton (1g, 1a) and he would send a perfect bounce shot into the empty net with 5:10 remaining in the game for his first goal of the season and it was 15-8. But they weren’t done yet. As they clock wound down with 2:22 remaining, Caputo was all alone and from the right side sent a bounce shot five-hole 16-8. The Rush would put up two more in the game. Matthews fired a high to low shot five hole to end the four-goal run with 1:43 remaining; and with 41.2 seconds on the ticker, Lintner would send an overhand shot over the shoulder of Damude to close it out. Final Score: PCLC 16—Rush 10.
Saskatchewan Rush—SOG 47; Saves 35; Sv% .686%; FO 18-30; PP 2-5
Panther City Lacrosse Club—SOG 51; Saves 37; Sv% .787%; FO 12-30; PP 3-4
STARS OF THE GAME:
Will Malcolm—Panther City Lacrosse Club: 5g, 3a
Robert Church—Saskatchewan Rush: 4g, 3a
Jonathan Donville—Panther City Lacrosse Club: 2g, 5a
The Saskatchewan Rush (5-5) will play host to the San Diego Seals (7-2) at Sasktel Centre on Saturday March 11, 2023, game time 8:30 p.m. EST. Fans in the USA can see the game on ESPN+. Fans in Canada can see the game on TSN.ca or the TSN app.
The Panther City Lacrosse Club (7-5) have a bye week and will be back in action on Saturday March 18, 2023 when they play host to the Las Vegas Desert Dogs (4-6)** at Dickie’s Arena, game time 8:00 p.m. EST. Fans in the USA can see the game on ESPN+. Fans in Canada can see the game on TSN.ca or the TSN app.
Di Miller, NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©
**Record at the time the article was written