The Saskatchewan Rush spoiled the Calgary Roughnecks’ home opener on Saturday night, taking a 10-8, come-from-behind victory in front of a crowd of 11,977 fans.
The new-look Roughnecks got off to a quick start when defenseman Dan McRae picked up a goal on transition following a forced turnover just 1:21 into the game. And that was the story for much of the first quarter—Calgary’s defense was able to intercept passes and force the Rush offense to drop balls, producing transition opportunities and keeping the Rush on their heels. Dane Dobbie would add to the lead with a power play goal at the 10-minute mark, staking the Roughnecks to a two-goal lead.
Ben McIntosh was finally able to break the shutout in the second quarter, beating Calgary goalie Frankie Scigliano 1:27 in. Just 13 seconds later the Rush tied it on a shorthanded goal from Chris Corbeil. It was all Roughnecks for the rest of the quarter however, with the home squad tallying three goals in the final six minutes, taking them to half time with a 5-2 lead.
Coming out of the locker room, Jeff Shattler was able to snipe a quick-stick goal just 52 seconds into the third quarter, giving Calgary a four-goal lead. The tables began to turn at that point. After having two goals disallowed due to crease violations, Zack Greer made a strong cut to the middle for a catch-and shoot goal to get Saskatchewan back on the scoreboard. He followed it up with a man-up goal on virtually the same play a minute later to get the Rush back into the game.
In the final two minutes of the third the Rush scored two shorthanded goals to tie the game, setting things up for a wild finish.
To start the fourth quarter, Robert Church gave the Rush their first lead of the game at the 244 mark but Calgary responded by getting two back over the next seven minutes. The final five minutes were all Saskatchewan however, as they scored three unanswered goals to retake the lead and earn an insurance marker for the win.
Mark Matthews and Robert Church had two goal, three assist nights for the Rush while Curtis Knight picked up five assists in his first game in more than a year following a knee injury. After a bit of a shaky start, Aaron Bold shut the door late in the game, making 37 saves on the night.
Calgary was lead by Dane Dobbie (3 G, 1 A) and Curtis Dickson (2 G, 2 A) while Scigliano made 37 saves.
The Rush looked lost in the first half of play—their offense wasn’t moving, their passes were being intercepted, their defense was allowing Calgary to execute. To their credit, the Roughnecks were taking advantage—their defense was filling passing lanes and forcing weak shots, Scilgliano was making big saves, and the offense was moving the ball well and getting good looks at the net.
The reverse was true in the second half. The Rush came out of the locker room fired up and looking more energetic, moving the ball better offensively and doing a much better job of pressuring Calgary’s offense and denying good scoring opportunities. Where Calgary was forcing turnovers regularly in the first half, they were unable to get key stops in the second and their shooters were unable to beat Bold when they had to.
The Rush now get a bye week to assess their performance and build on their second half while the Roughnecks travel to Buffalo next weekend to face the Bandits.