The Saskatchewan Rush went out and won one for Jeff Shattler on Saturday night at the SaskTel Centre, downing the San Diego Seal 17-14.
Down 7-4 at the half, the Rush were able to score 13 second half goals to lift them to victory. While the win was nice, Saskatchewan will still miss the playoffs.
The Rush needed Georgia to lose to Panther City earlier in the evening, by the Swarm pulled out a 12-9 victory to seal their fate. Meanwhile, the Rush has won three in a row since changing head coaches.
“I think the main thing is we are having fun playing again,” said Rush forward Robert Church. “We’re having a blast. Stuff has been pretty light and we’ve been enjoying ourselves and it’s shown on the floor.”
Farewell for Jeff Shattler and the Hulk
While the victory did nothing for the Rush’s playoff situation, it still had some meaning for the players.
It was Jeff Shattler’s final home game at the SaskTel Centre. Shattler is ending his 16-year career after this season so that he can spend more time with his family. He noted that the next time he’ll be at the SaskTel Centre would be “as a fan.”
He was draft by the Buffalo Bandits in 2006. Shattler spent from 2007-2017 with the Roughnecks and the past five season with the Rush.
“It was just an all-around great experience. These guys have been family to me for the longest time,” Shattler said after the game.
Jeff Shattler was presented with a framed jersey before the game on behalf of the Saskatchewan Rush organization.
Below is Jeff Shattler’s remarks to the media after the game:
Saturday night was also the last for another staple within the SaskTel Centre. The Saskatchewan Rush Hulk (aka Kelvin Ooms) is retiring from dressing up as the superhero for the past several years.
To the game
It wasn’t a good start for the Rush as Jeremy Noble scored on the first shot of the game 33 seconds into the title.
The Rush would quickly tie things up at 1:58. Chris Corbeil found Robert Church streaking down the wing for the goal.
Saskatchewan would then take over the lead 3:28 into the first quarter on the power play. A quick stick by Jeff Shattler would put an exclamation mark on his farewell game at the SaskTel Centre.
The wheels started to fall off after that for the Rush. Austin Staats would find the back of the net at 5:49 on a delayed penalty. Matt Sykes would follow that up with a breakaway goal at 10:01.
Staats rounded out the first-quarter scoring with a change-up shot that got by Adam Shute with 53.6 seconds left in the quarter.
In the second, Shute would get a piece of Noble’s shot, but not enough as it rolled into the net 2:01 into the frame to make it 5-2 for the Seals.
Ryan Keenan would stop the Seals’ momentum as he dove from behind the net for the goal at 3:07. Noble, with the hot stick, replied 31 seconds later to make it 6-3.
Dane Dobbie’s side arm shot at 4:16 would get by Shute. Shute would be pulled while Cameron Dunkerley got 39 seconds of playing time before he was put back in.
Make the score 7-4 for the Seals at the half.
Fight sparks second half comeback
Tempers flared to start the second half as Ryan Dilks and Eli Gobrecht went toe-to-toe and got sent of for fights.
The fight sparked for momentum for the Rush as a low shot by Connor McClelland at 1:07 would get the Rush within two.
Dobbie would reply on the power play, picking a corner at the 3:27 mark to make it 8-5 for San Diego.
Bobby Kidd III would pick up a misplayed ball to get a breakaway to score at 3:59 to keep the Rush within striking range.
Penalty troubles began to plaque the Rush in the second half. Casey Jackson scored on the power play at 5:37, diving from behind the net.
Not to be outdone, Kidd III took the ball off the faceoff and dove across the crease 14 seconds later to make the score 9-7.
Church would continue the run. With a defender draped off over him, he let a shot go that would get by Frank Scigliano at 7:08 and suddenly the Rush were within one.
The Seal would go up by two with a shorthanded marker from Dobbie to make it 10-8 Noble came to the rescue again shorthanded, ripping a low shot, short side, on Shute to make it 11-8 at 11:53.
Refusing to go away, Church found the back of the net 24 seconds later on the power play to make it 11-9. Then Holden Garlent would add to the tally a minute later to make it 11-10 for the Seals.
Fighting back, Mike Messenger would let a shot got over a defender at 14:11 to tie it 11-11.
With Kyle Rubisch in the box for holding, Jackson would score with three seconds left in the quarter to take the lead 12-11 heading into the final frame.
Rush rally in the fourth
The Rush would then take over in the fourth quarter.
Mike Mallory got it started with a shot that trickled across the line at 2:07 to tie it 12-12. Mark Matrhews would give the Rush the lead again with a long bouncer 1:17 later.
The Seals offence took a brief blow at the 4:50 mark when Staats when down favouring his leg.
The Rush’s run would continue at 5:39 with Shattler taking a shot through defenders and between the wickets to put Saskatchewan up by two.
At 7:48, Matthews shot was stopped by Scigliano, but Lintner picked up the rebound and buried it to make it 15-12.
Staats would return to the game and scored at 9:35 to get back within two. The Rush continued to push as Church scored his fourth with a behind-the-back shot that found the top corner at 13:18 to make it 16-13.
Staats’ awkward angle shot at 13:49 would get the Seals back within two again, but Matthews found Travis Cornwall with Chris Orilgieri caught trying to get back on the field to seal the win by a score of 17-14.
Mark Matthews, 1g 8a
Robert Church, 4g 4a
Jeff Shattler, 2g 4a
Jeremy Noble, 4g 4a
Austin Staats, 4g 4a
Dane Dobbie, 3g 3a
Wes Berg, 6a
Rush forward Robert Church met with the media after the game:
Rush Head Coach Jimmy Quinlan made comments about Saturday night’s game:
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.