Photos and article by Shawn Slaght, All Lacrosse All The Time – A division of the Edge of Philly Sports Network
Robert Church scored 2:06 into overtime as the Saskatchewan Rush would snap a five-game losing skid with a 12-11 win over the Vancouver Warriors on Saturday night.
It was the first win for the Rush since falling to the very same Vancouver team on Feb. 25.
The win was massive for the Rush’s playoff hopes as they move to 6-8. They remain one game behind Colorado (7-7), Halifax (7-8) and Philadelphia (7-8) and level with Georgia (6-8) for the final wildcard playoff spot. The good news for Saskatchewan is they still have games against Colorado, Georgia and Halifax as well as a match-up against Las Vegas for the remaining four games.
The news isn’t as bright for Vancouver. The loss drops them to 4-11 and they have been officially eliminated from playoff contention.
Some local history was made as well. Rush backup goaltender Eric Penney went down with an injury during warmup meaning that Warman, Sask., product Laine Hrushka suited up. He became the first Saskatchewan SWAT Junior A graduate to ever suit up for the Rush during a regular season game.
Back-and-forth first quarter
Chase Scanlan would give Vancouver a 2-0 lead to open the first quarter. First, he snuck one by Alex Buque 54 seconds into the game. Scanlan added his second with 3:12 left in the quarter.
Saskatchewan replied right back with Rhys Duch flying through the air to score his first goal as a member of the Rush with 2:18 remaining.
Robert Church would tie up with 33.1 seconds left in the quarter to make it 2-2 after the first quarter.
Rush offense comes alive
Saskatchewan started to pull away in the second quarter. Church’s shot from the outside on the power play 21 seconds into the quarter gave the Rush a 3-2 lead.
Vancouver tied it back up 30 seconds later when Adam Charalambides flipped a pass to Ryan Martel for the goal.
The Warriors would take the lead with 11:59 on the clock when Reid Bowering took a rebound off the boards and buried it to make it 4-3.
On the power play, Dan Lintner’s quick stick shot at 7:52 tied it up. Mark Matthews was found downfield on transition and when short side 44 seconds later to give the Rush a 5-4 lead.
Ryan Keenan gave the Rush a two-goal cushion at 6:43 with an outside shot on a delayed penalty. There was no extra attacker, however, as Alex Buque never made it out of the net.
The Rush’s offense continued to find its groove with Matthews cutting across the field and scoring at 4:32 to make it 4:32.
With only 47.3 seconds left in the half, Steph Charboneau scored on a breakaway to make it 7-5 for Saskatchewan at the half.
Rush holds third-quarter lead
Vancouver struck early with Kyle Killen finding the back of the net 30 seconds into the frame to narrow the Rush lead to 7-6.
With 11:18 on the clock, Ryan Dilks was waiting for his offense to come on. He fed Ryan Barnable, who turned and scored to restore the two-goal cushion for Saskatchewan.
Matthews picked up his hat trick with 6:40 left in the third and Church went short side with 1:14 left to give the Rush a 10-6 advantage heading into the final frame.
Cue the comeback
Vancouver would score five unanswered goals in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
Clark Walter opened the scoring, however. Church found him at the side of the net for the quick stick to make it 11-6 and it looked like Saskatchewan was going to snap a five-game losing skid.
Killen would start the five-goal run at 11:39 with a low shot that went five-hole. Riley Loewen was found alone in front with 5:54 left and the Warriors found themselves back within three.
With Aaron Bold on the bench for the extra attacker, Killen would pick a corner with 3:17 left to make it 11-9.
Once again, Bold was pulled for the extra attacker. This time it was Martel diving from behind the net with 2:53 left and it was a one-goal game 11-10.
Then with 1:19 left in regulation and, again, an extra attacker on the floor, Loewen took a leaping shot to force overtime.
Church the overtime hero
Both teams had chances in overtime, but it was the Rush that came out on top 2:06 into the extra frame.
Bringing the ball into the zone, Matthews found Church in front of the net. With a defender draped all over him, Church beat Bold to snap a five-game losing skid.
Mark Matthews, 3g 5a
Robert Church, 4g 3a
Ryan Keenan, 1g 3a
Kyle Killen, 3g 3a
Adam Charalambides, 4a
Reid Bowering, 1g 2a
Keegan Bal, 3a
Chase Scanlan, 2g 1a
Ryan Martel, 2g 1a
Captain Ryan Dilks spoke to the media after the game:
Overtime hero Robert Church commented on the big win: