Quite simply, the Edmonton Rush were not your typical team with a 1-4 record. In each off their four defeats, the Rush had a chance to win in the dying minutes.
So it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to see the Roughnecks rivals to the north roll through the weekend, beating the Washington Stealth 15-10 on Friday night before doubling up the Colorado Mammoth 14-7 on Saturday night in the Mile High City.
The Rush are now sitting at 3-4 and in third place in the West Division, and hold the tie-breaker over the Stealth.
This weekend will go down as history as the week Mark Matthews officially flexed his scoring muscles. He’s already been named the NLL Rookie of the Month for January, but nearly equaled his goal scoring numbers from the first five games in the two wins. He notched his first career sock-trick on Friday night versus Washington and followed it up with a five-goal outing against Washington. With 23 goals on the year, he holds the NLL lead.
Head coach Curt Malawsky runs this team with an offense by committee. Shawn Evans usually is one of the guys who leading the ship, but any game, five or six different Roughnecks could go off for a big night. Against the Toronto Rock, it was Dane Dobbie who came through with five goals, with Curtis Dickson and Jeff Shattler chipping in on 17-12 loss. The next night, it was Evans and Scott Ranger who stepped up with 11 points and six goals respectively in a 17-16 win over the Minnesota Swarm.
Malawsky said discipline continues to be an issue on the team, and said it would be addressed over the week.
Sitting at the halfway point of their season, the Roughnecks are 5-3 and hold a full game lead over the Washington Stealth. Those two teams face each other three times over the rest of the season, and will became a major factor in determining who will have home field advantage in the playoffs.
REST OF THE WEST
The Rush came out firing against the Stealth, and Washington couldn’t slow down the attack. By halftime, the Rush were up 7-3 and two goals were the closest the Stealth could get in the loss. The Rush fired 26 more shots on Stealth goaltender Tyler Richards, who made 46 saves in the loss.
Issues on both end of the floor continue to plague the Colorado Mammoth. In net, Matt Roik and Dan Lewis split time and allowed 14 goals in the loss. On offense, they were only able to put up seven on Rush goaltender Aaron Bold, and have the second worst offense in the league.
Minnesota showed strong youthful determination in their 17-16 loss to the Roughnecks. Down 9-5 at the half, they exploded for eight goals in the third frame and went into the final quarter all tied up. Three shorthanded goals from Curtis Dickson helped the Roughnecks out, but the Swarm had their chance with the ball right at the very end, and a missed pass let the clock run out.