It wasn’t exactly the dream debut Dan Dawson pictured when he suited up for the Saskatchewan Rush on Saturday.
Dawson — who was acquired earlier in the week from the Rochester Knighthawks — collected a goal and two assists in a 16-10 victory over the Vancouver Stealth, but he will remember his first game as a member of the Rush for all the wrong reasons.
“I got 15 stitches, down to the bone unfortunately, so that’s why I missed the quarter,” he said after the game.
“We have an amazing team doc, I like to think I didn’t want to meet him this early.”
The 17-year National Lacrosse League veteran earned himself the battle wounds in the second quarter by crashing the net in flying fashion, colliding with the post and receiving a slash in the process.
Ultimately, Dawson helped improve the Rush to a league-best 10-2 record on the season by creating space for his teammates and opening up passing lanes on the field.
Saskatchewan can largely thank an absurd powerplay for its fortunes. Taking after Kinsmen Telemiracle, the Rush’s seemingly unstoppable powerplay had only one direction to go — higher.
The Rush powerplay scored on five of six opportunities on Saturday, the first time it didn’t score on every powerplay since Feb. 10. Leading into Saturday’s game, the Rush powerplay was operating at a 75 per cent success rate and had gone 14 for 14 over its last three games.
The streak was broken in the fourth quarter when the Rush failed to capitalize on a meager 36 second powerplay.
Forward Matthew Dinsdale thinks the makeup of the squad is the reason for those numbers.
“I mean, you look at the five guys on the floor for our powerplay and it’s tough for the four guys on the floor to stop all five,” he said after scoring four goals in the win. “We got a lot of skill, a lot of talent and when they’re moving the ball well, one guy is going to get an open look.”
Vancouver attacked Saskatchewan early on Saturday, quickly jumping to a 3-1 lead in the opening minutes.
However, the Rush wouldn’t let them have the quarter and didn’t look back, claiming a 5-4 by the end of the quarter and scored five more in the second to take a 10-4 lead into halftime in front of a season-low crowd of 14, 057 that was undoubtedly due to a winter snowstorm that blanketed most of Saskatchewan on Saturday.
Saskatchewan forward Mark Matthews had a jarring nine assists, while Robert Church had four goals and four assists as the other top contributor.
Corey Small was the lone Vancouver standout, picking up one goal and four assists in the loss.
Saskatchewan now enters its bye week, playing its next game in Buffalo on March 16.