NLL: Rush ruin Warriors’ chances

Vancouver Warriors @ Saskatchewan Rush, March 30, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the National Lacrosse League)

The Saskatchewan Rush soundly defeated the Vancouver Warriors on Saturday night and advance to the playoffs with a 12-9 victory.

Saskatchewan went into the locker room at halftime with a 10-2 lead over Vancouver. Vancouver tried to come back in the second half but it was too little, too late for the Warriors who are now 2.5 games back of the Colorado Mammoth for the last playoff spot in the West with three games remaining.

The real “rush” of the night came from Robert Church who had four goals and three assists. Mark Matthews also had a strong game with a one goal and seven assists.

“The first goal at the beginning of the season is to clinch a playoff spot,” said Church in a Rush press release. “Now we want to win more games, get as high in the standings as we can, and get a home playoff game because this is a tough place to play.”

Church had a hat trick before the first quarter was over. Ryan Keenan added two goals in the first quarter to put the Rush up by four. Vancouver’s lone goal came from Keegan Bal.

The second quarter was much of the same in terms of the score. Saskatchewan added five more, while Vancouver only managed one from Jean-Luc Chetner. Scoring goals for Saskatchewan were Matthews, Ben McIntosh, Church and Jeff Shattler, who scored twice.

The third quarter was a bit of a reverse with Vancouver outscoring Saskatchewan. Logan Schuss, Mitch Jones and Tony Malcom added goals. A solo Saskatchewan goal was put in by McIntosh.

The fourth quarter saw much of the same with Vancouver outscoring Saskatchewan by three. Bal had two while Jones and McBride each contributed for Vancouver.  Shattler added an empty net goal at the end.

Saskatchewan dominated every category. They scored on three of their four power plays. They also won 19 of 25 face offs. It was clear that they were more balanced as they held on to shut down the last quarter efforts by Vancouver.

The Rush next face the Mammoth, who will be looking to clinch the last playoff spot. Vancouver has a bye week and plenty of time to regroup before they take on the struggling Philadelphia Wings.