The Saskatchewan Rush’s playoff chances took another huge blow on Saturday night as they lost 8-6 to the Calgary Roughnecks in a penalty-filled affair.
Calgary went 5 for 11 on the power play as the Rush struggled to stay out of the penalty box. A total of 24 penalties were called between the two teams.
“I think we did a good job after we got down, we certainly didn’t quit,” said Rush head coach Jeff McComb.
“We battled back and had lots of good chances to get right back in it, but at the end of the day you can’t give another team 11 power plays and expect to win.”
Assistant captain Mark Matthews felt the number of penalties wrecked the flow of the game. He felt the guys, himself included, needed to be more disciplined.
“It was a poorly executed game on our part,” Matthews said. “I thought the slow pace of the game with all of the penalties was not in our favour and we didn’t capitalize enough on the power play.”
Robert Church opened the scoring 1:38 into the game on the power play. Matthews would run around the horn to get Christian Del Bianco moving to score at 2:01 to make it 2-0 Rush.
The Roughnecks bounced back. First, Dan Taylor would score on the doorstep at 5:34. Calgary tied the game with Tyler Pace scoring on the power play at 6:18.
Matthew would regain the lead for the Rush at 13:31, shooting between a pair of defenders. Rush lead 3-2 after one.
A low scoring second quarter saw only one goal as the Roughnecks would tie it up 3-3. The Rush found themselves in penalty trouble and Jesse King would score on the power play at 10:11.
Roughnecks take over second half
A low shot by Curtis Dickson would give the Roughnecks the lead to open the second half 1:54 into the third quarter.
Curtis Dickson added another, living up to his nickname superman. Diving from behind the net, he beat Eric Penney at 9:08 to make it 5-3 Roughnecks.
Undisciplined play continued to plague the Rush. With Jeff Cornwall in the box for cross-checking, Penney misplayed a bouncing ball and Haiden Dickson took advantage to make it 6-3.
The penalty-filled affair continued. Again on the power play off a Dan Lintner slashing penalty, King would score at 13:33 to extend the Roughneck’s lead 7-3.
The Rush offence went silent for 30 minutes as they couldn’t find the back of the net for two straight quarters.
“It’s not just our offence. We had chances on the power play, we had chances on transition, we had I don’t know how many two-on-one and three-on-two breakaways tonight that we didn’t score on. That’s not just our offence, that’s our whole team,” McComb said.
In the fourth quarter, Tyler Pace dove across the crease on the two-man advantage to make it 8-3.
Not to be outdone, Matthews scored again as the Rush were shorthanded by two men at 2:13.
Matthews would then let a bullet go at 3:11 on the power play to narrow the lead to two. Dan Lintner flew across the crease at 4:59 on the power play to round out the scoring in the penalty-filled affair.
Mark Matthews, 4g 2a
Robert Church, 1g 4a
Dan Lintner, 1g 1a
Jeff Shattler, 2a
Curtis Dickson, 2g 4a
Jesse King, 2g 3a
Tyler Pace, 2g 2a
Saskatchewan Rush assistant captain Mark Matthews spoke after the game:
Jeff McComb, Rush head coach, spoke after the game:
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.