Here come the Edmonton Rush. Finally able to piece together a solid effort on both sides of the ball, Saturday’s 11-8 home victory over the Buffalo Bandits was Edmonton’s third win in 4 games. And the Rush are that much closer to securing a National Lacrosse League playoff berth despite a 2-7 record in their first 9 games. “That’s what it takes,” Edmonton coach and GM Derek Keenan told The Canadian Press. “And we scored enough goals tonight, which has been a struggle for us.” One more win, and the Rush are in. But the Bandits, just 1 week removed from a 10-goal win over Philadelphia, lost for the third time in 4 games and will finish a regular season with a record below .500 for the first time since 1999.
“We didn’t play in the second half on either offence or defence,” Bandits coach Darris Kilgour told The Edmonton Sun. “It was very disappointing to come out and put that kind of effort forth. Playoffs are on the line and we didn’t play well enough to win. You’re not going to win any games with basically just one goal in the second half.”
Buffalo scored just 2 goals in the second half, on 18 shots. Both goals came in the final 2 minutes of the third and fourth quarters, and the second goal of the half was a Luke Wiles power play goal.
“We’re still OK if we win our last two games, but who knows?” Kilgour told The Canadian Press. “We play Rochester next week and they are playing well and Washington … who knows what team of ours is going to show up? The team that won by 10 goals last week, or that lost by three goals tonight.”
The scary predicament for the Bandits is facing the reality that they could miss the playoffs for the first time since 2002, and for the first time since Kilgour was named coach for the 2003 season. The Rush, however, are focused on making the playoffs for just the second time in their 7-season existence.
“It’s been a tough season, but the biggest thing is we’re still in it,” Rush forward Shawn Williams told The Edmonton Sun. “Buffalo’s battling for their lives, as well, so it had playoffs written all over it. That was our mindset going in and you don’t want to say that they’re must-wins, but we’re running out of games.”
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The Washington Stealth lost on Saturday to Minnesota, leaving the team with 2 regular-season games left this season. And a 4-10 record. So yes, these final 2 games are must-wins. “I think they have to be must-wins. Can we salvage the season? It’s still a possibility and we have two home games to do it,” said coach Chris Hall. (The Everett Herald) … Yes, the Swarm did clinch a playoff berth with Saturday’s win over Washington, but the Swarm want more. They’re 0-5 all-time in the playoffs with 5 first-round losses. “We’ve been able to taste what the playoffs taste like for the last couple years. Getting by the first round is an immediate goal because we have to get better every year; that’s the goal of this organization,” forward Callum Crawford said. (MNSwarm.com) … The Rochester Knighthawks aren’t the only NLL team with an up-and-down season, but Saturday’s win over Calgary was one of the ups. And it clinched a playoff berth thanks in large part to an offense that clicked. “It’s dangerous. Our offense, once we get playing the same game and on the same page, it’s dangerous. That’s only a little bit of what we do, right? If we play a full game and we’re just constantly playing for each other, we’ll get victories like that,” said forward Alexander Kedoh Hill. (Knighthawks.net) … The Minnesota Swarm hosted a media lacrosse game on Saturday, setting the stage for sports anchor Dave Schwartz of KARE-11 and his breakaway goal against Swarm goalie Evan Kirk. Schwartz, like Kirk, is a Hobart graduate and Schwartz once did play-by-play for Hobart lacrosse on the radio (Schwartz’s breakaway) … The Brooklin Redmen spring golf tournament at Kedron Dells Golf Club is set for Sunday, June 10. The shotgun start is at 1 p.m. and for $110, you get 18 holes, a cart and a BBQ steak dinner. Get more information or register at the Redmen’s website. (BrooklinRedmen.ca).Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to RochesterSports.com.
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