A six-goal run in the second quarter helped the Saskatchewan Rush come from behind to pick up their first win of the season, a 10-9 win over the Vancouver Warriors on Friday night.
The number one star of the game was the goaltenders dressed in red and made of iron. Multiple scoring chances on both sides of the field were able to get by the Rush’s Adam Shute and Vancouver’s Alex Buque, but they couldn’t beat the post.
The posts made two very key saves. With the Warriors down 10-9 and about 1:30 left in the game, Vancouver’s Adam Charalambides looked as if he had tied that game. The scoring chance went to video review, which showed the Charalambides’ shot rang off the crossbar and didn’t cross the line.
Then with Buque pulled for the extra attacker in the dying seconds of the game, Dan Lintner had an opportunity to put the game away for the Rush with the open net. However, he too put it off the crossbar giving Vancouver a sliver of hope.
It was a rough first quarter for the Rush, as Vancouver held a 4-1 lead with Keegan Bal and Mitch Jones each having a pair of goals. The Warriors four goals came on only six shots on net. Saskatchewan’s lone goal came off a laser-beam shot from Mark Matthews at the 4:17 mark of the first frame.
Cue the comeback in the second quarter as the Rush had six unanswered goals. Mike Messenger kicked things off by running the length of the field, cutting to the inside and diving across the crease to beat Buque.
Saskatchewan’s transition game continued to do damage, with Jeff Cornwall and Holden Garlent finding the back of the net.
Matthews would score his second of three goals at the 12:01 mark and former Warrior Mike Mallory scored his first goal in four years. His last NLL goal came as a member of the Colorado Mammoth in 2017.
The Rush leaned on the scoring prowess of Kyle Rubisch (a hint of sarcasm there) to make the score 7-4 for Saskatchewan at halftime.
Marty Dinsdale, who is now wearing a Vancouver Warriors jersey, did his thing, putting the ball in the net when it really counts. Needing to stop the Rush run and regain some momentum, Dinsdale beat Shute 7:59 into the third to narrow the lead.
Jones would add a power play marker at 10:42 and suddenly the Warriors were back within one, 7-6.
Grinding to get their first win of the year, Matthews had his hat trick goal and Ryan Keenan added another to restore the Rush’s three-goal lead to 9-6 heading into the final frame.
Dinsdale once again came up big against his former team to open the scoring in the fourth, but Messenger was all over the field as he scored his second transition goal as he makes an early argument for Transition Player of the Year award.
Bal added a pair to get Vancouver back into the game. After Lintner hit the crossbar with 12 seconds left, the Rush called a time out and gave the ball to Messenger, who ran around literally tossing defenders aside to kill the clock.
The comeback win now improves the Rush to 1-2, while the Warriors drop to 2-1.
Ryan Keenan: 1g, 3a
Mark Matthews: 3g
Robert Church: 3a
Mike Messenger: 2g, 1a
Keegan Bal: 4g, 2a
Mitch Jones: 3g, 2a
Marty Dinsdale: 2g, 2a
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.