The Colorado Mammoth emerged with the 11-10 overtime victory on Friday night, besting the Saskatchewan Rush in what was an evenly matched contest all night long. The win gives the defending league champions a 3-1 record on the season, while the Rush fall to 2-2.
Colorado opened the scoring with two quick goals from Eli McLaughlin and Brett McIntyre in the first five minutes, with Saskatchewan responding mid-quarter with a tally from Ryan Keenan.
And from there the game became a very even, pitched battle. Neither team was able to go on more than a two-goal run, which the Rush did twice to tie the game and then to briefly take the lead. the Mammoth had a two-goal run in the third quarter to retake the lead, but Saskatchewan came right back to tie the game again.
One goal apiece in the fourth quarter solved nothing, forcing overtime.
In the extra frame, Rhys “Clutch” Duch capped off a seven-point night when Connor Robinson found him wide open at the side of the Rush net for the game-winning goal.
Duch led all scorers on the night with his goal and six assists. Robert Church had six points for the Rush (3G, 3A). On the other end of the floor, Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward made 44 saves in the victory while Rush goalie Alex Buque turned aside 35 shots.
Both teams get a week to rest before resuming regular season action. On Saturday, Jan. 28, the Rush will host the expansion Las Vegas Desert Dogs while the Mammoth battle the San Diego Seals in Denver. The Rush will be looking to move forward in the standings against the Desert Dogs, who have yet to win a game this season. The Mammoth and Seals will be fighting over first place in the West Division.