NLL: Strong Finish Gives PCLC 16-10 Win Over Rush

Phil Caputo celebrates with Callum Crawford. PCLC vs Saskatchewan Rush, March 4, 2023. (Photo: Panther City Lacrosse Club/NLL)

Saturday night, the Panther City Lacrosse Club scored seven times in the fourth quarter to hand the Saskatchewan Rush their second straight loss, 16-10. PCLC (7-5) moves up to third place in the West Conference with the win while the Rush (5-5) slide down to fourth.

“I think we are gaining a lot of confidence,” said Tony Malcom after the game. “I think there are a lot of underrated players on our team. I think a lot of players get talked about a lot in the league, but we have several on the back end that should be getting a lot more credit for what they bring to the table and I think we are starting to feed off each other and grow with wins like that.”

Neither team was able to take control in the first quarter, with both sides scoring three goals. But in the second, after an early marker by Robert Church on the powerplay, PCLC went on a tear in the final five minutes and 15 seconds, sniping three goals to take a 6-4 lead into halftime.

The third quarter, like the first, was an even exchange with both PCLC and the Rush picking up three goals.

Ultimately, it was in the fourth quarter that PCLC was finally able to blow things wide open. Callum Crawford extended the lead at the 12:10 mark, and then two more goals within a minute of each other from Will Malcom and Josh Medeiros built the lead up to five goals and ended the night for Rush starting goaltender Alex Buque. Although Saskatchewan stopped the run just a few seconds later, Panther City went on another four-goal run to seal the deal.

Two late goals from the Rush made the final score a little less one-sided, but did not get the team back into the game.

“We challenged the boys last week, said that we needed our best,” explained PCLC head coach Tracey Kelusky. “There are definitely areas of the game that need to be cleaned up, but I love the emotion. I loved when we play with passion. I love it when we play desperate. The emotion the guys bring on the bench, they are talking to one another, they get feisty and they’re in it from the get-go. I thought we were in it mentally, which is a big part of what we want to do all the time. [This win] feels real good.”

PCLC goalie Nick Damude had a good night in net, stopping 37 shots as well as chipping in with two assists. Buque made 33 saves in the loss while Eric Penney made just two stops on five shots in relief.

Malcom and Rush forward Mark Matthews each contributed eight points to their respective offences.

PCLC gets a week to rest and enjoy the win before resuming action at home on March 18 against the Las Vegas Desert Dogs. No rest for the Rush, however, as they host the conference-leading San Diego Seals next Saturday.