Saturday night the Saskatchewan Rush (3-0) defeated the defending champion Georgia Swarm (1-3) 13-9 in front of 3,714 fans at Infinite Energy Arena. With the victory, Saskatchewan joins Colorado as the only undefeated teams left in the league.
In 2017 both Saskatchewan and Georgia had very high-powered offenses, so a quick start and a high-scoring game seemed to be in the cards, but that was not the case in the early going. A defensive battle was what took shape.
It wasn’t until just over six minutes into the game that Robert Church would score his first of three on the night, and the only goal of the first quarter. This came after the Rush had two power play chances.
Both Mike Poulin and Evan Kirk were the stars of the quarter by coming up with some big saves in the first 15 minutes.
During his post-game conference Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said that his team “(was) crushed on the transition game. We scored a couple late ones that made it closer then what it was, but we gave up six goals in the third quarter and four of those on transition.”
Jeff Shattler put the Rush up 2-0 just two minutes into the second quarter before Shayne Jackson would score two straight, one of them shorthanded to tie the game. Mark Matthews would score his only goal of the night and give the Rush a lead they would not relinquish. The Rush would go on a three-goal run and the Swarm would score the final goal of the half to trail 5-3.
As the second half started, so did Saskatchewan’s offence. Both teams would alternate goals before the Rush would score four straight, three within 1:27 to cap off a six-goal third quarter and an 11-5 lead. Georgia would outscore the Rush 4-2 in the final quarter, but the game was decided before that.
Church (3G/3A) and Shattler (3G/1A) led the Rush offense, while Kirk stopped 41 of 50 shots for the victory.
Shayne Jackson (3G/1A), Jesse King and Zed Williams scored two goals each for the Swarm. Mike Poulin stopped 41 of 54 shots, but was saddled with the loss.
Saskatchewan will visit the “Loud House” when they face Colorado on Saturday January 13th at 10 p.m. EST in the Twitter game of the week.
Georgia will be on the road and face the Calgary Roughnecks on Saturday January 13th at 9 p.m. EST. Both teams carry 1-3 records.