Rush Keep Their Playoff Hopes Alive

The Saskatchewan Rush were able to keep their playoff hopes alive with a convincing 15-7 win over the Colorado Mammoth on Saturday night.

The Loud House went silent as the Rush held a 9-5 lead at the half and outscored the Mammoth 6-2 in the second half.

Saskatchewan improves their record to 4-5 which puts them right in the thick of the playoff race. Meanwhile, Colorado drops to 4-8 and will have an uphill battle to make the playoffs. Assuming a 9-9 or 10-8 record gets you in the playoffs, the Mammoth would have to go nearly perfect to end the season.

Frank Scigliano had a bounce-back game, facing 39 shots and keeping Colorado’s potent offence to only seven goals. Saskatchewan’s offence came alive with 59 shots on net. Robert Church and Ryan Keenan combined for a total of 16 points. Also helping for the Rush defence was the return of Holden Garlent from injury. Garlent ended the game with four loose balls and two shots on goal.

High Scoring First Quarter

Both teams combined for nine goals in the first quarter, but it was Saskatchewan that took the slight edge.

Clark Walter opened the scoring 56 seconds into the game off a shot that Dillon Ward got a piece of, but not enough as it trickled over the line. Zach Manns made it 2-0 at 2:45 with a low-to-low shot. Manns struck again with a sidearm shot at 5:27 and the Rush were rolling early.

Colorado got on the board at 8:12 when Tyson Gibson fed Chris Wardle for the quickstick at the side of the cage. Connor Robinson narrowed the lead to one with a long-range shot 24 seconds later.

Right off the ensuing faceoff, Ryan Barnable picked up the loose ball, found himself all alone, and scored to make it 4-2. Manns completed his hat trick with 1:41 left in the quarter with a dunk from behind the net.

Thirty seconds later, Keenan rifled one by Ward to put the Rush up by four. Eli McLaughlin scored from long range with 1.3 seconds left in the quarter as the Rush led 6-3 at the first break.

Mammoth Can’t Gain Ground

The second quarter went scoreless for 4:17 before Connor Kelly sniped one top corner to get the Mammoth within two.

Once again, the Rush replied quickly. Mike Messenger picked up the loose ball off the draw and buried it by Ward to make it 7-4. Church scored at the 6:51 mark dodging multiple defenders for the goal. Keenan rounded out the three-goal run for the Rush, taking a pass from Nathaniel Kozevnikov with 2:35 left on the clock.

McLaughlin rounded out the scoring, fighting off three defenders for the goal with 1:49 on the clock. However, Saskatchewan held a 9-5 lead at the half.

Floodgates Open In The Second Half

The Rush opened the scoring in the second half at 3:21. Colorado’s defence allowed Keenan to walk to the net for the Rush’s 10th goal of the game. Keenan then completed his natural hat trick at the 8:12 mark.

McLaughlin scored his hat trick goal, diving through the crease with 2:43 on the clock as the Rush held an 11-6 advantage.

Saskatchewan rounded out the scoring in the third with Patrick Dodds finding the back of the net with 1:56 to play. The Rush held a six-goal lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Playoff Hopes Are Still Alive

Keenan scored his fifth of the game 36 seconds into the fourth quarter and that marked the end of the night for Ward in Colorado’s goal. Tyler Carlson came in in relief.

Carlson held down the fort as neither team could find the back of the net for 11:19. Wardle broke the ice with 3:05 left to play by picking up his own rebound and burying it by Scigliano.

For the third time in the game, Saskatchewan replied quickly. On the very next possession, Church ran through the defence to make it 14-7.

Church added an empty net goal with 2:18 left to play as the Rush kept their playoff hopes alive with the 15-7 win.

Below are some of the highlights from the game:

Top Scorers

Saskatchewan Rush

Ryan Keenan, 5g 3a

Robert Church, 3g 5a

Zach Manns, 3g 3a

Colorado Mammoth

Eli McLaughlin, 3g 1a

Chris Wardle, 2g 2a

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Shawn Slaght
Shawn Slaght

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.