The Edmonton Rush continued their winning ways with a huge 17-12 win over the Toronto Rock on Sunday. They’ve now won five games in row and have looked unbeatable in the last few weeks; winning all of those games in convincing fashion. They are the team to beat right now and the rest of the league is definitely taking notice. Their five game run is the longest streak of any team in the National Lacrosse League so far this year. They’ve had strong performances from the crease right on out and are proving to be one of the most well balanced teams in National Lacrosse League.
Toronto’s Garrett Billings had a game high 8 points (3 goals 5 assists) followed by teammate Colin Doyle’s 6 point performance (3g 3a) but it still wasn’t enough to slow down the Rush. The game was back and forth until about the 4 minute mark when Edmonton opened up the flood gates starting with a Mark Matthews goal; his first of three. The teams would then exchange powerplay goals followed by a second trade off of goals and it looked as though we were in for a close game. However, 3-2 was as close as the Rock would get in this one as the Rush would explode after that.
Edmonton scored six unanswered goals to make the score 9-2 midway through the second frame and were dominating the Rock at both ends of the floor. Toronto came alive for a bit after that as they scored three straight goals of their own, making it 9-5 at halftime. The Rock would fail to complete the comeback though as the Rush were just too strong on this day.
The second half was very close with Edmonton edging Toronto 8-7 but the damage was already done and the first half hole was too deep for the Rock to climb out of. However, in the last two quarters we saw some great lacrosse and potentially a teaser to what we’ll see if these two teams meet in the finals.
Nick Rose was chased from the net less than 17 minutes into the game after allowing 8 goals on 25 shots. It certainly wasn’t Rose’s fault though as Toronto’s defense hung him out to dry by allowing him to be peppered with that many shots before so early on. To put Rose’s night in perspective; he made 17 saves in just 16 minutes, 37 seconds while Rush Goalie Aaron Bold made 25 stops in 60 minutes of work.
Bold was at the top of his game though making huge saves early and often for the Rush. He didn’t face many shots but came up big when he needed to. He has been in between the pipes for every game during Edmonton’s five game run and currently sits as top goalie in the West with a goals against average of 10.51.
The Rush were led once again by rookie Mark Matthews; the first overall pick in last year’s draft had 3 goals and 1 assists. Zach Greer also had a hat trick while Kyle Rubisch and Corey Small each had 2 goals and 2 assists for the Rush.
Even with the loss Toronto still sits a full two games ahead of the Philadelphia Wings in the East while Edmonton moves atop the West but is only a half game up on the Calgary Roughnecks and Washington Stealth. Toronto hosts the Buffalo Bandits on Friday and then they travel to Rochester to face the Knighthawks the following night. The Rush have a buy week and will resume play on April 6 when the Colorado Mammoth are in town. Edmonton’s last three games of the regular season are all at home.