In his rookie season, Riley Loewen made an immediate impact on the Edmonton Rush’s offense. He contributed 17 goals and 19 assists to a team that needed help after the loss of Corey Small to a knee injury in the offseason.
Small had been third on the team in scoring in 2013 with 64 points so there were question marks about whether Edmonton’s offense could remain competitive in 2014 without him. The questions were erased after they reeled off a league-record 14 straight wins to start the season.
Loewen’s 36 points were a key part of the Rush attack, giving them a deeper, more potent group of shooters than they’ve ever had.
The success as a rookie in the NLL obviously built up Loewen’s confidence. Over the summer, he was a team leader for the Maple Ridge Burrards—the 6’2″ sniper racked up a team-best 56 points during the regular season, earning himself WLA First Team All-Star honors.
With Small expected to return to the lineup in 2015, things are going to be busy on offense for Edmonton. Loewen will be battling for floor time with Small, Curtis Knight, Robert Church, Jarrett Davis, Mark Matthews and Cory Conway. Interestingly, Small, Church and Loewen comprised the entire forward line of the WLA First Team All-Star list.
In spite of how crowded things are likely to be up front for Edmonton, this could be a year for Loewen to really shine. He showed over the summer that he is capable of being a dominant force and now needs to demonstrate that his success with the Burrards can translate to the NLL game. Don’t be a bit surprised to see Loewen double his offensive output in his sophomore season as he becomes more comfortable and confident in his role with the Rush.