It was a must-win situation for the Saskatchewan Rush on Saturday night in Saskatoon and they did just that. The Rush picked up a 9-8 home victory over the Colorado Mammoth.
With Albany defeating Philadelphia earlier in the day, the victory will likely keep the Rush’s playoff hopes alive, although they will still need to win their two remaining games and get some help from other teams.
“It just goes to show the character that we have,” said assistant captain Mark Matthews. “We could have mailed it in a while ago and dumped the guys away at the trade deadline”
The two teams were feeling each other out early. It wasn’t until 3:57 into the game when a shot by Eli McLaughlin from the outside beat Adam Shute to make it 1-0 for the Mammoth.
Dylan Kinnear would then bully his way to the front of the net at 4:19 and Colorado jumped ahead by two.
The Rush finally got on the board with a hard shot by Marshall Powless at 6:42 narrowed the lead 2-1. Zed Williams would reply diving through the crease a 10:16 to restore the two-goal cushion.
Dan Lintner’s shot through a screen would get by Dillon Ward to make to 3-2 in favour of Colorado after the first quarter.
Saskatchewan mounted a comeback in the second starting with Robert Church with a behind-the-back goal on the power play at 2:54. The goal would be Church’s 600th point of his career.
Matthews would then give the Rush the lead 4-3. He picked a corner to score at 6:06.
It only took the Mammoth 30 seconds to tie up the game again with McLaughlin’s quick shot through traffic.
Williams rounded out the first half scoring, diving across the crease and going opposite side. Make it 5-4 for the Mammoth at the half.
Rush rebound in must-win situation
Saskatchewan tied it up 34 seconds into the second half with Matthews find the back of the net for his second of the must-win situation.
The Rush retook the lead at 7:51 of the third quarter. Lintner faked a shot in which Ward went down, leaving Lintner the open net. Saskatchewan would hold on to have a 6-5 lead going into the final frame.
A McLaughlin quick stick 32 seconds into the fourth quarter once again tied the game, but a two-goal run by the Rush would give them the lead right back as the goals came fast and furious.
First, rookie Powless struck again at 1:38. Mallory then rumbled off down the field off the faceoff to make it 8-6 at the 1:48 mark.
Ryan Lee stop the bleeding, scoring while taking a hit to make it 8-7 at 2:21 of the fourth.
Nine seconds later, Holden Garlent picked up a loose ball off the faceoff and found the back of the net, which would prove to be the game winner.
A long shot by Connor Robinson with the shot clock winding down would beat Shute at 9:51. The Mammoth, however, could not find the equalizer. Make the final 9-8 for the Rush in the must-win situation.
Mark Matthews, 2g 4a
Robert Church, 1g 3a
Dan Lintner, 2g 1a
Ryan Lee, 1g 7a
Eli McLaughlin, 3g 1a
Zed Williams, 2g 2a
Rush assistant captain Mark Matthews spoke after the game:
Robert Church commented after the game:
Associate head coach Jimmy Quinlan commented on his teams effort on Saturday night:
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.