Shawn Slaght, All Lacrosse All The Time – A Division of the Edge of Philly Sports Network
The Vancouver Warriors pulled off the upset to snap a 5-game losing skid by downing the Saskatchewan Rush 16-12 on Saturday night at the SaskTel Centre.
The difference in the game came down to goaltending. Aaron Bold was outstanding in the Warriors’ goal as he stopped 51 of the 63 shots he faced. Meanwhile, Alex Buque got the start of the Rush and struggled. He got pulled in the second quarter after giving up six goals on 16 shots. Eric Penney didn’t fair much better as he allowed six goals on 14 shots as Buque was put back in late in the third quarter.
The Rush did receive some good news. Highly-touted prospect Ryan Barnable came off the injury reserve list. He saw his first NLL action and scored a beauty goal on his very first shot on net. Saskatchewan’s young guns had the hot hand on Saturday night as rookie Austin Madronic added three goals and two assists in the loss.
The Warriors, on the other hand, were looking for players to step up and that’s exactly what they got. Adam Charalambides finished the game with three goals and three assists. Keegan Bal had himself a game with three goals and 11 points.
Back-and-forth first quarter
Vancouver wasted no time silencing Saskatchewan’s hometown crowd. Charalambides scored on transition 37 seconds into the game to give the Warriors a 1-0 lead.
Saskatchewan replied right back on transition 1:37 into the quarter with Barnable scoring his first NLL goal. Another rookie, Madronic, would follow that up at 10:49 to make it 2-1 for the Rush.
Shawn Evans evened it up with a top-corner shot at 7:23 to tie it at two. However, Ryan Keenan would take advantage of a power play at 5:37 to regain the lead.
Charalambides would spin around a defender and take a shot with 4:11 left in the quarter to make it 3-3 at the break.
Warriors chase Buque
Vancouver would open the second quarter with a three-goal run that would chase Buque out of the Saskatchewan net.
Bal opened that scoring at the 11:47 mark with a shot around a defender. He followed that up that almost the exact same play 1:05 later to make it 5-3.
Evans would a low ground-ball shot would get by Buque at 8:32 to bring Penney on in relief.
Dan Lintner would get Saskatchewan back within two with a highlight reel goal at 7:15. Picking up the rebound in traffic, he was able to spin himself free to score.
Charalambides restored Vancouver’s three-goal cushion at 6:45. Off the ensuing faceoff, Tyrell Hamer-Jackson would win the draw, head down the floor and scored in a matter of six seconds.
Ryan Martel would round out the first-half scoring at 1:30 to make the score 9-4 for the Warriors at the half.
Vancouver snuffs out any Saskatchewan momentum
Saskatchewan opened the second half with a two-goal run. However, Vancouver would not allow the Rush to gain any type of momentum.
Mark Matthews’ running shot found the back to the net 1:04 into the third quarter. Connor McClelland would grab the rebound off the back board from a Robert Church shot and buried it at 10:21 to make the score 9-6.
Kyle Killen would dial it in from downtown with a shot from the restraining line at 7:27 to restore the four-goal lead. Bal would add another with a bouncing shot at 6:02 on the power play to extend the Warriors’ lead to 11-6. Killen would also get a power play marker at 4:29 and the Rush would swap goaltenders again and put Buque back in net.
Saskatchewan finally got back on the board with 3:56 on the clock when Madronic tip-toeing around the crease for the goal.
To say these two teams don’t like each other would be an understatement. With 3:22 left in the third quarter, Matt Beers and Evans exchanged pleasantries and were sent to the penalty box.
The scuffle didn’t spark the Rush much as Chase Scanlan scored for Vancouver at 2:05 to make it 13-7 heading into the final quarter.
Vancouver snaps 5-game losing skid
Marty Dinsdale added to Sasktchewan’s total 1:04 into the fourth quarter. He’d add another at 12:20 on a delayed penalty call to make it 13-9. Unfortunately for the Rush, they would lose Dinsdale to an injury later in the quarter.
Killen replied right back at 11:31 as he dove from behind the net for the goal.
Matthews tried to keep the Rush in the game as he went 5-hole on Bold at 11:17 to make it 14-10.
Vancouver continued to pull away late in the quarter. Martel was left with all sorts of time and space to bury a shot with 9:18 left to play. At 5:53, Evans scored on a three-on-one to make it 16-10.
Saskatchewan would score a couple of goals in garbage time with Madronic scoring his hat trick at 3:36 and Matthews got the hat trick with 40 seconds left. It would be enough as Vancouver ended its 5-game losing skid 16-12.
Rush head coach Jimmy Quinlan and captain Ryan Dilks spoke to the media after the game:
Keegan Bal, 3g 8a
Shawn Evans, 3g 4a
Adam Charalambides, 3g 3a
Austin Madronic, 3g 2a
Mark Matthews, 3g 2a
Ryan Keenan, 1g 4a