The Saskatchewan Rush built up an early lead on the Calgary Roughnecks Saturday night and never looked back, taking a 15-9 home victory. The win keeps the Rush (6-4) in first place in the NLL West Division, while the Roughnecks (5-6) drop to third.
Calgary struck first, with Tyler Pace beating Rush goalie Evan Kirk at the 2:54 mark. But Saskatchewan answered back loudly, going on a 3-0 run over the next six and a half minutes. Although Curtis Dickson would finally put the Roughnecks back on the board to break the run, the Rush kept the pressure on to build up a 6-3 lead after just one quarter.
Two more Rush goals to open the second quarter—including the first of three from Jeff Shattler against his former team—created a lead that Calgary was unable to overcome. Even outscoring the Rush 2-1 in the third quarter wasn’t enough to shift the momentum; the Rush responded with four more goals in the fourth quarter to just one by Calgary to turn the win into a rout.
A fight between Saskatchewan’s Ryan Keenan and Calgary’s Eli Salama mid-way through the second quarter reminded fans that these two teams don’t like each other and the game got chippy for a while after that. It even looked for a moment like Rush faceoff specialist Jeremy Thompson and Roughnecks forward Dane Dobbie might get into it after some intense verbal sniping. But no further penalties were called for roughing or fighting the rest of the game.
Shattler led the Rush with seven points on his hat trick and four assists. Dobbie also had a three-goal, four-assist night for the Roughnecks.
In spite of giving up 15 goals, Calgary netminder Christian del Bianco had a good night, stopping 43 shots. At the other end of the floor, Saskatchewan’s Kirk made 33 stops for the win.
The Rush now have a bye week before hosting the Buffalo Bandits, who currently hold the best record in the league, at 9-2. Calgary hosts the Toronto Rock next weekend.