A 12-10 win for Colorado over the Saskatchewan Rush on Sunday night gives the Mammoth the upper hand after the first game of the home-and-home series.
Ryan Lee was the hero with five goals and two assists for the Mammoth, with most of his goals coming from long range. Meanwhile, Dillon Ward stood tall by stopping 47 for 57 shots on goal.
For the Rush, they finally got the production they were looking for from Josh Currier as he had the hat trick. Yet, Saskatchewan couldn’t hold on to an early lead as, once again, the offence went silent in the second half.
Robert Church opened the scoring at 3:06 on the power play as the Rush got off to a quick start. It was short-lived as Lee scored 50 seconds later and Dylan Kinnear would score at 6:17 to make the score 2-1 for Colorado.
Saskatchewan replied with a three-goal run to end the first quarter with two markers from Currier and a power play goal from Ryan Keenan.
The Rush would keep the momentum in the second quarter with Mark Matthews scoring a pair of highlight reels goals, the first of which would be his 300th career goal.
Former Rush forward Connor Robinson would seek revenge on his old team with a goal at 9:04 for Colorado. Lee would round out the scoring to make it 6-4 in favour of the Rush at the half.
Comeback for Colorado
Dan Lintner extended that Rush’s lead to three goals at 1:39 of the third quarter. After that, it was mostly the Mammoth when it came to offence.
Lee would score a pair of goals and Robinson would let a shot rip from the restraining line with 30 seconds left in the quarter that fooled Rush goaltender Adam Shute. The game was tied 7-7 heading into the final frame.
Lintner would get the Rush back in the lead 8-7 at 2:10 of the fourth quarter. However, goals from John Lintz, Eli McLaughlin and Lee would make the score 10-8 for Colorado.
Currier would score his hat trick goal at 11:05 to get the Rush back within one. Warren Jeffrey would get a transition empty net goal for Colorado with 55 seconds left in the game to put away the Rush. Or so it would seem.
On the ensuing faceoff, Mike Messenger played a little bit of FOGO. He won the draw, took it down the floor and scored 14 seconds after the Jeffrey goal and suddenly the Rush still had a chance.
Jordan Gilles put the nail in the coffin with the Mammoth’s second empty net goal with 19 seconds left in the game to finish off the Rush.
This was the first of a home-and-home series between these two teams. They are back in action on Saturday, Feb. 26 at the Sasktel Centre in Saskatoon.
Mark Matthews, 2g 3a
Robert Church, 1g 3a
Josh Currier, 3g
Ryan Lee, 5g 2a
Eli McLaughlin, 1g 4a
Zed Williams, 4a
Shawn Slaght has been a sports reporter across the Canadian prairies for over 10 years. For the past five years, he’s been the Saskatchewan correspondent for LaxPhilly.