In the lowest scoring game of the 2017 season, the Saskatchewan Rush still found a way to get the job done. A Jeff Cornwall empty netter was the difference in a tight 8-7 win over the Colorado Mammoth.
The Rush carried the momentum but were stonewalled by Colorado goalie Dillon Ward, who made 56 saves in the loss.
“I really thought we played well,” said Rush head coach Derek Keenan when asked about the lack of offense.
“Their goalie was incredible and that game could have easily been 17-16 without the goaltending.”
Early on, the Rush looked to take the shape of a team riding a 4-game winning streak, jumping out to a 4-0 advantage early in the second quarter.
A shorthanded goal by Colorado all of a sudden tilted the floor in their favour, scoring four unanswered to tie it up by halftime.
Some solid transition play and passing by leading scorer Mark Matthews would eventually prevail in the second half. The highlight being a no-look pass from Matthews to find Ben McIntosh waiting on the back door, a momentum changer late in the game as McIntosh drew a 5-minute penalty on the play.
The Rush used that powerplay to eat away at the clock and set up Cornwall’s insurance marker. The Mammoth would score in the dying seconds, but it was too little too late.
An alternate storyline had as much fizzle as the offence on Saturday. Former Rush forward Zach Greer was unable to play due to injury, in what would have been his first time playing at SaskTel Centre since being traded for Adam Jones.
Jones did play, and the product of Owen Sound, Ont. had two assists to notch career point number 400.
“Was that tonight?” Jones asked when congratulated by reporters post-game.
“Once I was traded here I was glad to be here and in this offence, it’s exciting.”
The win marks five straight wins for the Rush, who have turned a corner since heading into their home opener 0-2 on the season.
Leading the NLL’s West Division, the Rush are back at home Saturday, Feb. 25 to host Calgary.