NLL Season Recap: Edmonton’s Almost Cinderella Story

The Edmonton Rush had a historic 16-2 season, going undefeated until April 11, 2014. They won their first 14 games. The Colorado Mammoth handed them their first defeat which was a 10-8 loss. They would lose their second game of the season eight days later in overtime against the Calgary Roughnecks (13-14). They would go on to face Calgary in the playoffs for the Champion’s Cup.

The Rush started their season on the road in Colorado where they defeated the Mammoth 10-3 on December 28. They had their home opener January 11, where they defeated the Colorado Mammoth a second time, 17-6. The following weekend, they were home against the Roughnecks where there was a decisive 15-8 victory for the Rush. January 25, they made the trip to Vancouver, defeating the Stealth 8-9.

At the start of February, they were home against the Rochester Knighthawks where they played their first overtime game. With the extra time, they would defeat the Knighthawks 8-7. Then, they hit the road again. In Philadelphia, they beat the Wings 6-8. Valentine’s weekend in Minnesota, they handed the Swarm a 9-14 defeat. At the end of the month, they were back home to face the Toronto Rock, where they won 11-10.

March 8, they faced the Vancouver Stealth at home for a game with a similar score to last time. The final result was 10-9. The following weekend, they hit the road for the Battle of Alberta. The Roughnecks were again decisively defeated 15-7. The next weekend, they were back home to take on the Bandits, also defeating them 14-5. At the end of March, they faced their first back to back, which was no problem for the Rush. They were in Rochester on March 29, where they again defeated the Knighthawks 11-15. On the 30th, they were in Toronto to take on the Rock. This was a 10-13 victory for the Rush.

On April 5, they again took on the Mammoth, this time for a much closer game, winning that one 12-11. April 11 was their first loss as apparently the Mammoth were getting a bit too familiar with their opponent. Colorado handed over a 10-8 loss to the Rush at the Pepsi Center. The next day, they were back on the road, headed back to Calgary, but this time to Alberta. They defeated the Roughnecks in the third installment of the Battle of Alberta, 11-15. On April 19, they would host the Roughnecks at Rexall for the final Battle. This time, in overtime, Calgary finally took one 13-14. The final game of the regular season came against Vancouver, which the Rush won without problems, 10-5.

May was the playoffs and a whole new level to the Battle of Alberta. Calgary took the first round 12-11 in overtime. A week later, the Rush would defeat Calgary in Game 2, 15-13. This led to this year’s new addition: the 10-minute mini-game following Game 2 if tied. Calgary took that one 1-2, knocking out Edmonton’s hope for the Cup.

The Rush were represented among the League Leaders by Jeremy Thompson who was fourth in the league in faceoff wins with 235, Mark Matthews who was fifth in shots on goal with 167, Jeff Cornwall who was fifth in forced turnovers with 29, and their stellar goaltender, Aaron Bold who was first in wins with 15, first in GAA at 8.73, and fifth in saves with 558.   Representing Team Canada from the Rush are Zach Greer, Mark Matthews, and Kyle Rubisch. Leading the team during the regular season were Curtis Knight with 35 goals, nine of them on the power play, Cory Conway with 51 assists, and Mark Matthews with 78 points and 167 shots on goal. In the playoffs, Mark Matthews led with six goals, 11 points and 35 shots on goal. Cory Conway had seven assists to lead the team. Jeremy Thompson won 48 faceoffs during the playoffs.

We don’t know if Edmonton can repeat this season, but it’ll be fun to watch them try next year.