Saskatchewan looks to Repeat with a win tonight
Tonight the 30th NLL Season can come to a close. Should the Saskatchewan Rush win tonight they would sweep the best of three and repeat as National Lacrosse League Champions. The Rush won game one in Buffalo 11-9.
What would make this game special is the Rush won the title last year as the Edmonton Rush; now they are under the Saskatchewan Rush after relocation. We had a team three-peat (Rochester Knighthawks 2012-2014) and now we could have a repeat champion from two different cities.
In Game 1, Dhane Smith continued his impressive season with a six point night (3 G, 3 A). But is was the secondary scoring that struggles and will need to step up if they plan to return back to Buffalo for Game 3. Other than Smith, Anthony Malcolm and Ryan Benesch scored two goals apiece.
Buffalo started out slow in Game 1 as they fell behind 3-0 before they started scoring in the second quarter and we were tied at 6-6. The game would be tied after the third quarter at 8-8, but Buffalo would take a brief lead at 4:18 on a goal by Ryan Benesch. But again, that didn’t last long. Robert Church would tie the game 46 seconds later.
Both defenses would be stellar for the next five minutes, Aaron Bold and Anthony Cosmo making save after save. Then at 10:44 Ben McIntosh would finally beat Anthony Cosmo for a 10-9 lead. Zack Greer would finish the scoring 50 seconds later and the Rush would shuffle out of Buffalo with a 1-0 series lead.
Saskatchewan has a very stingy defense. Shots were even, but Buffalo picked up 90 loose balls to the Rush 72. In the first and fourth quarter Buffalo threw 27 shots on Aaron Bold and only scored on one of them.
In tonight’s game you can definitely expect to see Buffalo come out fast and try to dent the armor of the Saskatchewan Rush and get an early lead and take the crowd out of the game. For that to happen, Mark Steenhuis and Alex Kedoh-Hill would need to score more then a goal each. Both combined for two goals and one assist.
Saskatchewan will obviously let their defense turn into offense, but they also have well balanced scoring. In Game 1, Robert Church (2 G, 3 A), Mark Matthews (2 G, 2 A), Zack Greer and Ben McIntosh (2 G, 1 A) each. What Buffalo has to be cautious—if the Rush didn’t even heat up the offense, and if the defense plays the way it did in Game 1, Buffalo will be shuffling back to Buffalo to clean out the lockers and prepare for next year.
The Game can be viewed on the following stations.