Shawn Slaght, All Lacrosse All The Time – A Division of the Edge of Philly Sports Network
Panther City defeated the Saskatchewan Rush 16-10 on Saturday night in Fort Worth, Texas to create a logjam in the west division for places two through six in the standings.
The victory moves Panther City to 7-5, while the Rush drops to 5-5. Calgary remains in the second place position at 7-4, while Colorado at 5-5 and Las Vegas at 4-6 are right in the playoff hunt to add to the logjam in the west. The win also splits the season series between these two teams 1-1.
Saskatchewan’s usually lethal power play was silenced on Saturday night, only going two for five with the man advantage. Full credit to Nick Damude in Panther City’s goal. He stopped 37 of 47 shots in the victory.
Meanwhile, it was another off night for Alex Buque between the pipes for the Rush. He allowed 12 goals and stopped 33 shots before being pulled for the second straight week in favour of Eric Penney. The Rush were also undermanned as they were missing Marty Dinsdale and Marshall Powless due to injuries they sustained the week before against Vancouver.
Saskatchewan sets the tone early
The Rush tried to send a message early in this game. Dan Lintner got Saskatchewan on the board first only 24 seconds into the game.
Will Malcom tied it up 3:13 later to make it 1-1. Saskatchewan would go on a two-goal run with markers from Robert Church at 10:31 and Mike Mallory 6:35 to pull ahead 3-1.
With Mark Matthews in the box for holding, Jonathan Donville capitalized to narrow the lead to one goal with 4:22 left to play in the first quarter. Tony Malcom would beat Buque with 1:25 left in the first to tie it up 3-3 heading into the second frame.
Panther City begins to pull away
Saskatchewan regained the lead on the power play at 10:10 of the second quarter off a goal from Robert Church. However, after that the wheels fell off for the Rush.
Will Malcom tied up the game with 5:15 left in the first half and Phil Caputo scored unassisted on the power play with 1:51 left to take the lead 5-4.
One minute later, Donville struck again to give Panther City a 6-4 advantage at half time.
Rush can’t make up the deficit in the third
The rookie Mathieu Gautier opened the third-quarter scoring at 11:46 as Panther City extended its lead to 7-4.
Robert Church finally broke the goose egg for the Rush at 8:30, but Will Malcom scored on an individual effort 1:09 later to restore the three-goal cushion 8-5.
Church scored his second goal of the quarter 17 seconds after that as the goals came fast and furious to make it 8-6. Clark Walter would then score for Saskatchewan on the power play at 3:39 for his first career NLL goal.
Will Malcom scored with 1:05 left in the third off a feed from Gautier to make it 9-7 with one quarter left to play.
Panther City runs away with it in the fourth quarter
Panther City kept their foot on the gas in the fourth quarter. They opened with a three-goal run starting with Callum Crawford at 12:10.
Will Malcom scored at 8:51 to make it 11-7 and Josh Medeiros found the back of the net 20 seconds after that.
Jake Boudreau got Saskatchewan back on the board in transition off a feed from Mike Messenger at 8:01 to make it 11-8.
Not to be outdone, Panther City scored four straight including three in a span of 1:22. Medeiros started the run at 6:32 followed by Crawford at 5:41. Tyler Burton took a transition pass from Damude at 5:10 and buried it to extend Panther City’s lead to 15-8.
Phil Caputo rounded out the run on the power play at 2:22.
Saskatchewan would score twice more within the final two minutes with markers from Matthews and Lintner, but it was too late as Panther City added to the logjam in the west standings.
Will Malcom, 5g 3a
Jonathan Donville, 2g 5a
Callum Crawford, 2g 3a
Mark Matthews, 1g 7a
Robert Church, 4g 3a
Dan Lintner, 2g 1a
Mike Messenger, 3a