After nearly 20 months away from the floor, the Saskatchewan Rush finally got some playing time over the weekend at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville over the weekend.
The Rush played a pair of pre-season games against the Rock and the Buffalo Bandits, picking up a split.
Game one on Saturday saw the Rush take a 15-12 win over Toronto.
Saskatchewan would jump out to a quick 2-0 lead off of goals from Ryan Keenan and Austin Murphy. Toronto would reply with a pair of goals of their own the knot the game up at 2-2.
Bobby Kidd would put the Rush ahead 3-2 and Jeff Shattler would receive a pass from Robert Church to put the Green and Black up 4-2.
The Rock would score twice in the final minute of the quarter to make it 4-4 heading into the second.
The two teams would continue to trade goals in the second quarter with Shattler, Keenan, Clark Walter and Church scoring the tying goal with 1.2 seconds left in the half. The game was tied 8-8 after the first half.
In the second half, the Rush started to pull away and they were getting production from some of their younger players.
The Rush went on a three-goal run to start the third with goals from Mike Mallory, Erik Maas and Shattler to make it 11-8.
The Rock would stop the run at 8:23 of the third, but Shattler and Tom Schreiber exchanged goals as the Rush held a 12-10 advantage heading into the final frame.
Keenan and Marshall Powless extended the league to four. Schreiber would add one and Aaron Forster would score for the Rock to narrow the lead to 14-12 with 30 seconds left to play. Jeff Cornwall would round out the Rush scoring with an empty net goal with 21 seconds remaining.
Adam Shute got the nod between the pipes and played the whole game, stopping 41 of 53 shots as the Rush were outshot 53-44.
Sunday afternoon the Rush were back at it against the Buffalo Bandits, who were fielding a veteran lineup for the game. The Rush would fall 11-5.
Saskatchewan was down 7-2 at the half with both goals coming from Mark Matthews, who sat out of Saturday’s match against Toronto.
Saskatoon’s Zach Gould and Maas scored in the second half, while a late goal from Matthews for the hat trick would be Saskatchewan’s fifth goal.
Cameron Dunkerley got the start in goal for the Rush.
The Rush return to Saskatoon on Nov. 26-27 for one last practice before opening the season in Halifax on Dec. 4.
(Photo credit: Gary Groob)
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.