Try as Vancouver did to break it down, the Saskatchewan Rush defence held strong in a 16-12 victory over the Stealth.
Despite some penalty trouble leading to four Vancouver goals, the Rush still managed to hold off a powerful Vancouver offence that featured the NLL’s top two leading scorers.
“We played really hard but we made a few mental errors,” said Rush head coach Derek Keenan. “Not a lot of 5-on-5 but plenty of goals in transition and on the poweplay.”
Saskatchewan went five for six on the man advantage, including a hat-trick of powerplay goals from Robert Church.
“Had to give credit to guys like Mark (Matthews) for making that happen,” said Church, who has at least three goals in both home games this year.
“Tough to pick who to shoot out there sometimes but right now it has been me.”
Matthews was unable to find the net himself but picked up 8 assists on the night. Six of Saskatchewan’s goals came on transition plays, including three from Jeff Cornwall.
It was a clash between two styles of play. The Rush playing a more structured set on offence and defense, while Vancouver looks to employ a more free flowing style.
In the end, rigid tactics emerged the winner.
“They play a high-risk style and there are some holes that create odd-man opportunities,” said Rush head coach Derek Keenan. “But they have a lot of skill and an aggressive bunch so it’s hard to play against.”
Aaron Bold stopped 38 of the 50 shots he faced in the win.
The Rush head on the road next to take on Calgary on Saturday, Feb. 4.