NLL: Rush defeat Mammoth 13-10

Rush Defeat Mammoth in Western Division Thriller, Move to 6-1.

Ryan Keenan and Robert Church combine for Seven Goals.

Last night the Saskatchewan Rush (6-1) defeated the Colorado Mammoth (4-2) 13-10 in front of 12,740 fans at the Pepsi Center.  With the win, Saskatchewan has clinched the season series by winning the first two games giving them any tie-breaker in their favour. In their first meeting on January 13, Saskatchewan won 17-12.

In the early going the goaltending was the story of the night. Dillon Ward and Evan Kirk were outstanding in the early going. Ward made two consecutive post-to-post saves that brought the crowd at the “Loud House” to their feet.

At 2:21 the only goal of the first quarter was scored. Stephen Keogh would score off a slip pick pass from Jacob Ruest for the early 1-0 Mammoth lead. The rest of the first quarter featured phenomenal defense on both ends, including Zack Greer hustling back to stop a breakaway.

Ryan Keenan would get the offense going on the power play for the Rush within the first minute of the second quarter. Chris Corbeil would pick up a loose ball and feed Adrian Sorichetti on the outlet pass. Sorichetti would hit a cutting Keenan for the first of his four goals on the night. Robert Church would score the first of his three on the night just 90 seconds later on the power play as well.

Ryan Benesch would score the first of his three to tie the game at two on a delayed penalty. Just a little over eight minutes into the second quarter, the Mammoth found themselves not only down 5-2, but the Rush were outshooting them 9-2.

Benesch would give his team some momentum as he would score the final two goals of the half and cut the lead to 5-4. His second goal of the game came on the power play with some terrific ball movement by the Mammoth pulling the Rush defense away from Benesch. Beni’s rivalry goal came in typical fashion, as he cut through the defense and beat Evan Kirk.

Keogh would kick the second half off the same way he started the game, taking a pass from Noble & Ruest to tie the game at five.  After Keenan would give the Rush a one goal lead at 6-5, the goal of the night and contender for goal of the year came from Stephen Keogh. Ryan Benesch was stopped by Evan Kirk but the rebound was picked up by Keogh who ran through a maze of players then went airborne and fired a behind the back over the shoulder shot past Kirk’s right shoulder and hit the top corner to tie the game at six. This would kick off a three-goal run by the Mammoth.

One of those was on a five-minute power play as Brett Mydske was hit with a high sticking major. Saskatchewan would start a four-goal run during that major by scoring shorthanded and not allowing Colorado to score again during the major penalty. Ryan Keenan and Robert Church would score their fourth and third goals respectively to regain the lead for the Rush at 10-8.

Zack Greer would break the 15-plus minute drought by the Mammoth and score his only goal of the night with 4:29 left in regulation.  Joey Cupido would tie the game at 10 after a long outlet pass from Dillon Ward.

During his post-game press conference, Rush GM/head coach Derek Keenan said, “It was a real grinder of a game, I thought we came out flat and didn’t have a lot of jump, but then we got it going. We held them to 10 goals and that was big. It’s a good win for us.”

Matt Hossack would score the eventual game winner just 10 seconds after acupudo’s goal by picking up a loose ball off the faceoff and putting it past Ward. Marty Dinsdale would give a little more breathing room by scoring 26 seconds later, and Ben McIntosh would cap the scoring with an empty netter for a three goal victory for the Rush 13-10.

A win by the Rush tonight at home over the struggling Stealth (1-6) will give them a full two game lead over the Mammoth plus the tie-breaker for winning the season series. It will be very difficult for the Mammoth to overcome that type of deficit.

The deficit is not impossible by mathematical standards, but if the Rush keep playing as they are, it will be impossible and the Mammoth will have to only worry about the Roughnecks or Stealth.

Stephen Keogh (3G/5A) and Ryan Benesch (3G/2A) led the scoring for the Mammoth.  Jeremy Noble had five assists and Jacob Ruest chipped in with a goal and four assists.  Dillon Ward who played very well in net stopped 32 of 44 shots faced but was saddled with the loss.

Ryan Keenan (4G/1A) and Robert Church (3G/3A) led the Rush attack. Ben McIntosh & Marty Dinsdale both chipped in with a pair of goals and assists each. Curtis Knight with a strong game chipped in with four assists.

Evan Kirk stopped 39 of 49 for the win with a very solid game as well.

Colorado is back in action on Saturday February 10th as they visit the Calgary Roughnecks.

Saskatchewan returns home to face the Vancouver Stealth tonight as they are the Twitter game of the week.  Both these teams will face each other again next Saturday, this time in Vancouver.