Shawn Slaght, All Lacrosse All The Time – A Division of the Edge of Philly Sports Network
After missing the playoffs last season, the Saskatchewan Rush came out on Saturday night and picked up an 18-6 statement win over the defending champion Colorado Mammoth.
The Rush were relentless putting up 69 shots on goal, while the defense stood tall to keep the Mammoth’s potent offense at bay with 48 shots.
Meanwhile, Saskatchewan gave the starting job in goal to newly-acquired Alexis Buque, who made timely saves while the defense limited the scoring opportunities for Colorado.
“We challenged that group mentally a lot through training camp as well as physically,” said Rush head coach Jimmy Quinlan after the game. “We strongly believe in having a plan and executing the plan and sticking to the plan and we did just that in spades tonight.”
For the veteran players, it was a sigh of relief after such a disappointing season last year that they could get off to a quick start to the 2022-2023 campaign.
“Getting a win like that is pretty special,” said forward Robert Church. “We didn’t have many like that last year, so hopefully this is a sign of things to come.”
Rush shutout Mammoth in the first
Saskatchewan opened the scoring with Dan Lintner picking up a rebound and finding the back of the net at 13:06.
Ryan Keenan extended the lead as he cut into the middle and crease dived at 12:03 to make it 2-0.
Lintner would make it 3-0 with an outside shot that got through traffic at 8:37.
Mark Matthews rounded out the scoring at 4:56 on the powerplay on a shot that Dillon Ward got a piece of. The ball trickled over the line to make it 4-0.
Alexis Buque was stellar for the Rush in the first quarter, stopping all-comers.
Mammoth get on the board
Robert Church opened the scoring at 13:49 of the second quarter with a quick release off a pass from Marshall Powless.
Marty Dindale added to the scoring at 12:50 as the Rush took a 6-0 lead.
Connor Robinson finally got the Mammoth on the board at 10:35 with a shot that got between the legs of Buque.
Jordan Gilles would pick the top corner on a fast break at 9:03 to make it 6-2 as the Mammoth still trailed the Rush.
Powless restored the Rush’s five-goal cushion with a highlight reel behind-the-back shot that beat Ward with 4:18 left to make it 7-2.
Church would rip a shot through the middle on the power play at 1:41 to make it 8-2. Zed Williams scored with 42 seconds left to make it 8-3 at the half.
Rush pile it on in the third
Saskatchewan wasted no time adding to their lead as Keenan would find the back of the net again at 13:35 of the third quarter. That would end the night for Ward as Tyler Carlson came on in relief.
Lintner continued his hot streak at 11:16 for the Rush’s 10th goal and Church would make it 11-3 at 10:55.
Williams would stop the bleeding at 7:35 to make it 11-4 heading into the final frame.
Rush pulls well ahead in the fourth
Saskatchewan kept the pedal to the metal in the fourth quarter. Lintner scored 31 seconds into the frame and Keenan would score 27 seconds later.
Matthews would score at 13:27 and Dindale add another 27 seconds later.
Brett McIntyre would make it 15-5 with the Mammoth’s fifth goal of the game. It was short-lived at Buque’s long pass found Holden Garlent for a short-handed marker 19 seconds later.
Dinsdale made it 17-5 with a cross-crease dive with 9:01 left to play and Church’s overhand shot on the powerplay at 6:10 made it 18-5.
Dylan Kinnear would make it 18-6 off a long shot that fooled Buque at 5:08.
The Rush would shut the door for the remainder of the game to make the final 18-6 to make a statement win.
Rush head coach Jimmy Quinlan met with the media after the game.
Rush forward Robert Church talks about Saturday night’s win.
Saskatchewan Rush defender Kyle Rubisch talks about the statement win.
Mark Matthews, 2g 10a
Robert Church, 4g 6a
Marty Dinsdale, 3g 5a
Eli McLaughlin, 4a
Brett McIntyre, 1g 2a
Zed Williams, 2g
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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.