Behind eleven total points from Mark Matthews (1G+5A) and Ben McIntosh (4G+1A), the Saskatchewan Rush won their third straight game stemming back to last season over the San Diego Seals with a 12-9 victory at Pechanga Arena San Diego. Connor Fields, Wesley Berg, Jeremy Noble, and Connor Kearnan paced San Diego’s offense with two goals each while Zack Greer had a team-high five assists. San Diego falls to 0-3 at home and 1-4 overall on the season.
Early first quarter action saw both goaltenders keep each side off the scoreboard until Saskatchewan finally got on the board on Matt Dinsdale‘s tally at the 6:21 mark to put the Rush up 1-0. Ryan Keenan doubled the lead just over two minutes later to make it a 2-0 Saskatchewan lead. Dinsdale’s second of the game gave the Rush a 3-0 cushion before Jeremy Noble‘s first of the day at 11:49 got the Seals on the board at a 3-1 deficit. Ben McIntosh struck at 14:35 with his first of the day to extend the Rush’s lead to 4-1 after the first quarter.
In the second, Connor Kearnan potted his first of the afternoon to trim the lead in half to 4-2. The Rush offense was able to restore order 2:31 into the 2nd with Jeff Cornwall‘s tally to make it a 5-2 lead. Connor Fields continued his hot start to the season with a pair of goals for the Seals at 4:25 and 7:28 that brought San Diego back within one at 5-4. Saskatchewan regained the momentum with another pair of tallies from Keenan and McIntosh to pull ahead 7-4. Kearnan brought the Seals back within two at the break with a Power Play tally to make it a 7-5 Rush lead at Halftime.
Just 1:55 into the third quarter, Wesley Berg chalked up his first goal of the afternoon that once again brought the Seals within one at a 7-6 scoreline, but the Rush answered back with a 3-0 scoring run from Chris Corbeil, Jeff Shattler and Matthews to pull in front 10-6 and chase Frank Scigliano from the game after 33 saves on 43 shots faced. Nick Damude would play the remainder of the game in net for San Diego. Berg converted a Power Play chance for San Diego to make it 10-7 Rush until McIntosh once again found the net to restored order at 11-7. Kyle Buchanan grabbed a high pass in front of the crease and scored with 20 seconds left in the 3rd to cut the deficit to 11-8 after three.
McIntosh finished off his top star performance with the lone goal for the Rush in the fourth quarter to make it 12-8 before Noble added his second of the day with two-tenths of a second left in the game to round the scoring in this one, 12-9 Rush over the Seals.
Patrick Merrill on the game:
“Same old stuff so far this season. We found ourselves chasing the game and making mistakes we should be able to avoid. You play a good team and they make you pay for that. We just for whatever reasons dig ourselves a hole, we climb out of it somewhat but then we make a few avoidable mistakes they make us pay and then run gets too big to be able to recover from.”
Patrick Merrill on the avoidable mistakes:
“I’m scratching my head about it myself, I don’t know if its a lack of confidence or a lack of focus or just poor execution. You can’t turn the ball over that much, I think in the first five minutes I think we had three or four turnovers that could have been avoided. We’re hitting sticks, things getting picked off, guys aren’t moving their feet or just dropping easy passes. That’s discouraging, those are little momentum plays that add up and to a poor result. To me, those types of mistakes are between the ears.”
Patrick Merrill on evaluating the roster from the General Manager perspective:
“We’re 1-4, I’m going to do what I can to make this team better. One way or another. It’s not good enough. Right now the combination of guys is not working, so whether it’s new guys in the lineup or whether it’s bringing some in from outside, I’m going to look at all options.”
Connor Fields on the team’s focus and mistakes:
“Just a couple of mental errors and a focus thing. We gotta stay focused for the full sixty minutes and today we weren’t or in the past couple of games. That’s one thing we really have to work on and focus on is just staying in the game the moment every play and not overthinking things, it could be a little bit of overthinking and gripping the sticks a little too tight and that’s when turnovers and bad things start to happen.
Connor Fields on the team’s mentality despite the 1-4 start:
“With these losses, obviously we’re not happy but we still think we have a championship team. We want to stay positive and learn from the losses and even the win. We want to keep pushing forward and not really look back. Put those games behind us and just focus on Halifax next weekend.
Connor Fields on the upcoming road trip to Halifax and New York:
“It’s definitely a tough one, especially with losing at home. But we’ll be watching our film this week and seeing what we did wrong and what we can improve on. We’ll put it behind us and focus on the little things coming into these games and I think those will add up to wins.
Written by: Callan McClurg