The Edmonton Rush did not have the start to their season that they were hoping for when they dropped their season opener 9-8 to the Buffalo Bandits. This week they’ll try to redeem themselves when they host their home opener against the Minnesota Swarm.
The Swarm also lost their season opener last weekend when the Colorado Mammoth poured in 11 fourth-quarter goals to take a convincing 20-13 win.
For the Swarm, they have some things to work on if they hope to be competitive in this game. They went 0-for-4 on the power play in addition to giving up 57 shots on goal. In his debut as Swarm goaltender, Brodie McDonald had some struggles, managing only a .661 save percentage on the night.
With McDonald’s shaky start to the season, he may not get a chance to face his former club tonight; Minnesota may instead opt to go with Zach Higgins between the pipes.
The good news for the Swarm is that they can still build on some positives from last week’s game. They actually took a one-goal lead into the fourth quarter when Colorado had their big offensive outburst. And rookie Miles Thompson showed that he’s the real deal, scoring a hat trick and adding an assist in his first NLL action.
If Minnesota can avoid having another ugly quarter spoil all their hard work, they’ve got a shot in this game.
The Rush, meanwhile, return home after digging themselves a hole in the second quarter that they were unable to climb out of—the Bandits outscored them 4-0 in the second frame and staked themselves to a lead they would not relinquish.
Buffalo goalie Anthony Cosmo stymied the Rush for most of the game, stopping 42 shots in the win; Edmonton will have to do better than that to get back into the win column.
Of note is that Edmonton’s transition game was uncharacteristically quiet last week. Chris Corbeil contributed one assist to the offense making him the only non-forward on the roster to pick up a point in the game. The Rush were particularly effective last year in putting pressure on defenses by getting up the floor quickly and they need to rediscover that part of their game to be effective.
Rookie Ben McIntosh scored a natural hat trick in the second half, Mark Matthews and Robert Church had five-point nights, and Corey Small returned from a one-year absence to produce a goal and an assist, so the offensive unit seems to be working fairly well together.
Aaron Bold put up decent numbers against Buffalo, was wasn’t his usual self and needs to make a couple more big saves to keep his team in the game.
One other interesting battle to watch tonight will be in the faceoff circle. Both Minnesota’s Jordan MacIntosh and Edmonton’s Jeremy Thompson struggled in their season openers; while MacIntosh is a better drawman than Thompson historically, Thompson has raised his level significantly over the last few years and should be expected to have a stronger night at the X, giving the Rush a few more offensive opportunities.
Game time is 7:00 pm MT at Rexall Place.
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