After earning a decisive win in Game 1 of the West Division Finals, the Saskatchewan Rush will seek to move on to their second straight Champion’s Cup when they take on the Calgary Roughnecks in Saskatoon tonight.
Game 1 was tied 8-8 after three quarters, but the Rush went on a three-goal run to open the fourth and build up a lead the Roughnecks had no answer for en route to a 16-10 win.
Saskatchewan has not lost to Calgary in 2016 and now they return home where their new fanbase has sold out the SaskTel Centre in their last two games and where the Rush went 7-2 during the regular season.
Not to put too fine a point on this, but things don’t look good for the Roughnecks.
The Rush offense is more talented and deeper than the Roughnecks. The Rush defense is the best in the National Lacrosse League. Their goaltender, Aaron Bold, had the lowest goals against average in the league during the regular season.
While Calgary’s Curtis Dickson is one of the most dangerous scorers of the last decade and he has a supporting cast that includes a former league MVP (Jeff Shattler) and a former league leader in goals scored (Dane Dobbie), they still lack the depth of the Rush. Saskatchewan’s top scorer, Mark Matthews, had two more points than Dickson during the regular season; the Rush had three people in the top 25 in scoring to the Roughnecks’ two; the Rush had three of the top 20 league leaders in loose balls to the Roughnecks’ one and four of the top 10 in forced turnovers to Calgary’s zero.
Can the Roughnecks pull off an upset and beat the Rush in Game 2? Of course. Upsets happen all the time in the NLL. Can they then go on to win a deciding mini-game as well? Again, it is possible—that’s why they play the games. But realistically, this is a war the Rush are almost certainly going to win.
Game 2 gets underway at 9:30 p.m. ET.