NLL: Warriors Take Down Rush 16-12

The Saskatchewan Rush host the Vancouver Warriors at Sask Tel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, February 25, 2023 (Photo courtesy of the National Lacrosse League)

The last-place Vancouver Warriors got on a roll in the second quarter and took a commanding lead that they would not give up on Saturday night against the Saskatchewan Rush, winning the game 16-12. The loss drops the Rush to 5-4 on the season and they now sit in third place in the West Division. The Warriors grab their second win of the season, but remain in last place in the division.

The Warriors opened the scoring less than a minute in when Adam Charalambides sniped his first of the night. Saskatchewan answered back quickly and briefly took the lead, but goals traded between the teams late resulted in a 3-3 tie after the first quarter.

The second quarter was all Warriors. Keegan Bal scored twice in the first five minutes and Shawn Evans added his second of the night—assisted by Bal, to give Vancouver a three-goal cushion. Saskatchewan’s Dan Lintner stopped the run with a goal of his own, but 30 seconds later Charalambides completed his hat trick, beginning another three-goal run to wrap the first half.

As the third quarter started, it looked like the Rush might make a comeback, scoring two quick goals to narrow the Warriors’ lead to only three, but Vancouver came right back again with another three-goal run, including two power play goals caused by some uncharacteristically chippy and undisciplined play by the Rush.

Now with a six-goal lead, the Warriors were able to trade goals with the Rush the rest of the way. Two Rush goals in the final five minutes closed the gap a little, but they were unable to mount any real comeback.

Aaron Bold, who spent much of his career playing for the Rush, was outstanding in net for the Warriors, stopping 51 shots against his former teammates. Saskatchewan’s starting goalie Alex Buque only made 17 shots while giving up 10 goals; Eric Penney, taking over between the pipes in the second quarter, fared slightly better, making 14 saves and giving up 6 goals before heading back to the bench late in the game while Buque returned to action.

Bal led the Warriors offence with an 11-point night (3 goals, 8 assists) while Ryan Keenan, Austin Madronic, and Mark Matthews all contributed five points apiece to the Rush attack.

Vancouver gets to rest for a week before travelling to Las Vegas on March 11 to face the Desert Dogs. Saskatchewan takes on the Panther City Lacrosse Club on March 4 in Fort Worth.