The Saskatchewan Rush found their offensive spark in a 16-7 win over the Panther City Lacrosse Club Saturday night at the Sasktel Centre.
It was a stark contrast to the first five games of the season, where the Rush offence struggled to find the back of the net.
“Before the game, we talked about playing well in all areas transitioned, offence, and I thought we did that tonight. I thought defense was spectacular and really took their time and space away and we finally got going on offence,” said head coach Jeff McComb.
Saskatchewan got off to a quick start with a five-goal run with two from Dan Lintner, and singles from Jeff Shattler, Mark Matthews and Robert Church. Kevin Orleman’s night in goal for Panther City. Nick Damude came on its relief.
“You can play a little bit looser. You’re not as worried about every shift when your offence is clicking like that you don’t have to be looking at the scoreboard all the time. It’s a lot easier to play like that,” said Rush defenceman Kyle Rubisch about the five-goal lead.
Phil Caputo and Will Malcom would get the Panther City back within three, but Shattler would score at the buzzer. The play was reviewed. There was no view of the clock so the call on the field stood. The goal was scored with 0.2 seconds left in the quarter.
Matt Beers would open the scoring at 2:04 of the second to make it 7-2 for the Rush. Patrick Dodds would reply for the team from Fort Worth at 4:27.
That offensive spark continued in the second. The Rush would finish the quarter on a three-goal run with markers from Austin Murphy, Church and Holden Garlent. Make the score 10-3 at the half.
“Murph’s good. Murph had a good training camp. He went on the practice roster, he waited patiently, practiced hard and he came and had a good attitude. He deserved everything he got tonight,” Church said of Murphy, who finished the game with a goal and two assists.
Race to the Finish
Opening the fourth quarter, Caputo would score him falling to his knees to get Panther City within six.
The Rush would reply with Connor McClelland playing give-and-go with Shattler to beat Damude at 8:47. Church followed that up a minute later to make it 12-4 for the Rush.
Dawson Theede would stop the Rush’s momentum on the power play to make it 12-5 in favour of the Rush with one quarter left to play.
Shattler and Ryan Keenan would open the scoring in the fourth to extend the Rush’s lead 13-5. Theede would get Panther City on the board. Shattler would score his fourth of the game at 8:38.
Josh Medeiros tried to keep the purple and white in the game Matthews sniped his second at 10:02 to make it 10-7.
Jeff Shattler, 4g 3a
Robert Church, 3g 4a
Ryan Keenan, 1g 6a
Taite Cattoni, 4a
Patrick Dodds, 1g 3a
Dawson Theede, 2g 1a
Rush head coach Jeff McComb spoke to the media after the win
Saskatchewan forward Robert Church:
Rush defenseman Kyle Rubisch
Shawn Slaght has been a sports reporter across the Canadian prairies for over 10 years and has experience covering everything from junior hockey to World Cup skiing to all levels of lacrosse. He is the Saskatchewan correspondent for All Lacrosse All The Time.