A flurry of goals in the dying moments of the game earned the Saskatchewan Rush the 13-12 win over the Las Vegas Desert Dogs on Saturday night. The Rush close out the season in fifth place in the West Conference, with an 8-10 record while the Desert Dogs wrap up their first season in sixth place at 5-13.
Marshal King drew first blood for the Desert Dogs, just 56 seconds into the game, but Clark Walter of the Rush responded with two of his own to give his team the lead. Vegas responded three minutes later, by going on a three-goal run to round out the quarter, taking a lead they would hold for the next 44 minutes.
The second quarter solved nothing, with the two teams trading goals back and forth for the entire period. The Dogs held a two-goal lead at halftime. And the third quarter matched the second quarter, again with the teams taking turns scoring three apiece.
In the fourth quarter, former Rush forward Zach Greer gave Las Vegas a three-goal advantage just two minutes in and that lead held for more than six minutes before Dan Lintner finally scored for the Rush to reduce the lead to two. Jake Boudreau followed that up just 19 seconds later, bringing Saskatchewan to within a single goal and setting up a wild finish.
With just 3:24 left on the clock, Greer scored again, rebuilding the Desert Dogs’ two-goal lead. But the Rush offence got white-hot for the remainder of the game—Ryan Keenan answered back with two goals less than a minute-and-a-half apart and, with just 39 second left in the game, Mark Matthews sniped the game winner from a tough angle to give the Rush the win.
Rob Hellyer led all scorers on the night, contributing eight assists to the Desert Dogs offence, while Keenan paced the Rush attack with four goals and two assists for six points. On the other end, Lane Hruska stopped 35 shots for his second-straight victory while Landon Kells made 41 saves in the loss.
Now these two teams head home for the summer to regroup and plan for next season. Meanwhile the NLL playoffs begin next weekend.