The Edmonton Rush served notice that they are a force to be reckoned with on Saturday night, easily dispatching the Calgary Roughnecks 18-13 in front of over 11,300 dejected Roughnecks fans.
The night started on a special note for the Roughnecks faithful with a ceremony to induct recent retiree Kaleb Toth as the inaugural member of the Forever A Roughneck club and the Roughnecks were able to carry some of that energy into the game where they managed a 2-2 tie with the Rush until the dying seconds of the first quarter.
An intercepted pass by Kyle Rubisch while the Roughnecks played for a final shot resulted in Rubisch firing an empty net goal from the defenisive end to put the Rush up by one.
The Rush would open up the lead in the second quarter by scoring five of the next six goals, chasing Calgary’s starting goaltender, Mike Poulin, from the game.
Frankie Scigliano finished the half with some saves, but the Rush went to the locker room with a comfortable 9-6 lead.
Edmonton would put the game away for good early in the third quarter, scoring five goals in the first six minutes, resulting in Scigliano returning to the bench and Poulin going back between the pipes for the remainder of the contest.
Although Calgary would score three goals late in the fourth to make the score look a little more respectable, there was really no question on this night who was going to win.
Edmonton took 15 more shots, seven more on target, and their defense stepped up, doing an excellent job of keeping the Roughnecks’ shooters from getting shots.
Ryan Ward set a Rush record for most points in a game, with 10, Jarrett Davis had a five-point night, and both Mark Matthews and Zack Greer tallied hat tricks.
On the Roughnecks’ side. Daryl Veltman contributed eight points and Jeff Shattler kicked in a hat trick plus three assists.
Although neither team had particularly stellar goaltending on the night, Aaron Bold’s .657 save percentage was significantly better than Poulin and Scigliano’s combined .638.
The win for Edmonton puts them in a second-place tie with the Roughnecks at 5-5, with the two teams rapidly heading in completely different directions. The Rush have now won four of their last five while the Roughnecks have dropped three of their last four.
The Rush’s current combination of excellent scoring and smothering defense is a recipe for victory; they are looking very tough to beat right now.
Calgary’s offense is continuing to put the ball in the net, but their goaltending has been dismal for four games now. Whatever magic Poulin had in the last two years seems to be gone right now. If Calgary is to get back on track, the defending NLL Goaltender of the Year needs to relocate his mojo and he needs to do it quickly.