Welcome to Week 3 of the National Lacrosse League which weirdly doubles as the Saskatchewan Rush opener. As a former “super fan” of the Edmonton Rush and a former employee of theirs (two seasons full time, four seasons part time) this is my first time watching them since they left town.

Kyle Rubisch caught out of position on the first goal of the game. Dereck Downs makes it 2-0 as he slips behind the Rush defence. Callum Crawford literally goes through Chris Corbeil and Nick Finlay. These are all first game of the season mistakes by the defending champs. Announcers saying the Black Wolves gave Alex Buque the start because of his familiarity with the Rush is a bunk theory. Shooters learn goalie tendencies at the same rate as the goalie learns the shooter. You know that and he was not signed by the team to be a backup.

A disorganized Rush offence took mere seconds to score on their first powerplay opportunity of the evening. The goal seemingly energized the Rush defence as the Black Wolves suddenly could not find a shot until late in the shot clock and even then it was from the outside. This theme continued throughout a dominant penalty kill.

Mike Messenger’s boarding penalty is the definition of borderline. You want to protect players when they are that close to the boards with their nameplate facing the field of play but the Black Wolves player clearly tripped on the bumpy floor. Wolves only collect one shot. The Rush penalty kill is in postseason form.

Ryan Keenan gets leveled by John LaFontaine and coughs up the ball. This is a problem because goalie Evan Kirk had raced to the bench to give the Rush a 6-on-5 advantage to close out the quarter. Easiest goal of LaFontaine’s career finishes out the first quarter with the Wolves leading 4-1.

Mark Matthews with the goal scorers goal to open the second quarter. Literally an inch under the crossbar on the short side of the floor. On the flip side, Jeremy Thompson with too much time on a breakaway and is easily stopped. The Rush powerplay goes 2-for-2 on the night pulling them to within 1. Thompson does what he does best and wins the ensuing faceoff. The Rush score on the possession and we have ourselves a 4-4 game.

Brett Mydske gets turned around by Reilly OConnor who then makes a double move to beat Evan Kirk. Crawford scores from an impossible angle to make it 6-4 Wolves.

If ever the overdramatic “need to the kill off the penalty” phrase had a spot it was here in the middle of the second. The Black Wolves are hanging with the champs so far and could use the confidence boost. OConnor scores the shorthanded goal but collects a goalie interference penalty for landing into Kirk. That’s a dumb rule is the first reaction but thinking about for a second it is quite logical. The goal was scored clean so it should not be taken off the board.

Obviously on the 5-on-3 powerplay the Rush take back the their goal making it 7-5 Wolves. I say obviously cause the Rush had the best powerplay unit last season and have been dynamite thus far in their opener. With 7 seconds remaining on the 5-on-4 penalty kill for the Wolves they score their second shorty of the night. Stephan Leblanc loosely wearing Rush defenders Finlay and Jeff Shattler shakes free enough to make it 8-5.

After the Wolves took a 9-5 lead the Rush scored the next two goals. Corbeil leading a 2-on-0 transition breakaway is denied. Rush will be starting the second half on the powerplay.

The second half starts with my B/R Live feed crapping out as per usual. I re-join the game with the score 9-8 Wolves on the Rush going on the powerplay. I will be purchasing a “chromecast” thingy (yes that’s my technical expertise level) tomorrow to see if that rectifys the issue. Speaking of technical difficulties, the Rush powerplay was so poor the feed looped back and made me watch it again.

Ben McIntosh steps in the crease on a transition breakout by the Rush. The refs immediately wave off the goal but Coach Derek Keenan asks for the review anyway.

After a quarter where the Rush seemed more interested in scoring on transition than on an offensive set, Robert Church scores a beautiful goal off of a pick to tie the game at 9. On a delayed penalty call to the Wolves, McIntosh camps on top of the crease and scores while turning in the air to give the Rush their first lead of the night at 10-9.

Crawford with a highlight reel goal to tie the game at 10. Without any exaggeration that was the first Wolves shot of the quarter that was within six feet of Kirk. Crawford with a penalty shot opportunity just over a minute into the 4th quarter goes off the face mask of the Rush goalie.

After a game full of outside saves, the Wolves finally score one from perimeter. 11-10 New England.

Rush go on their 8th powerplay of the evening and immediately rely on Kirk making a breakaway save. The Rush powerplay which dragged a sluggish team into the game in the first half has been a glaring weakness in the second half. With 40 seconds remaining in the man up situation Corbeil takes a penalty to give us some 4-on-4 lacrosse. Kirk makes back-to-back saves during the Wolves abbreviated powerplay to keep it a 11-10 game.

Shortly after going up 12-10, Nick Chaykowsky picks up a mishandled ball and goes the length of the floor for a breakaway. Kirk with a big save to keep the game close. This loss is not on him.

Coming out of a timeout the Wolves decide to kill the clock instead of trying to out there foot on the collective Rush throat. Personally absolutely hate this strategy.

Church makes it 12-11 with Kirk on the bench. With 40 seconds left and the Wolves in possession of the ball they call a timeout. They go for the kill but miss the net. Speaking of missing the net, that is how the last shot of the game went for the Rush.

The Not-so Technical Saskatchewan Rush Vs New England Black Wolves Game Report

Leave a Reply