It was as impressive a weekend as we’ve seen in the National Lacrosse League. The Edmonton Rush, with a pair of road games — Saturday in Buffalo and Sunday in Toronto — capped their perfect weekend with a dominant 17-12 win over the Rock. On Friday, the Rush handed the Bandits a 14-7 loss. Coupled with Colorado’s loss to Calgary, the Rush did what every NLL team is aiming to do. “We clinched a playoff spot and that’s big for us,” rookie forward Mark Matthews, who scored 3 goals on Sunday, told The Canadian Press. “We play our last three games at home now so maybe we can steal first place (overall) and get home-field advantage for the playoffs.” So as the Rush roll on with 5 straight wins, the Rock are left wondering what happened on Sunday. Actually, it’s not that much of a mystery.
“We were not prepared,” Toronto coach Troy Cordingley told The Canadian Press. “That’s a very, very solid team and I don’t know if it’s us not respecting their abilities but they dominated for 60 minutes. We got our asses handed to us, to be honest with you. Our team is all about passion and work, and there was absolutely none of that there.”
The Rush pulled away from a 3-2 lead in the first quarter with consecutive goals from Zack Greer, Matthews and John LaFontaine. They opened the second with goals from Brett Mydske, Greer and Jeremy Thompson for a 9-2 lead before Toronto ripped off 3 to close within 9-5 by halftime.
But the Rush opened the second half with 4 of the first 5 goals for a 13-6 lead to hold the Rock at bay the rest of the afternoon. Toronto defenseman Sandy Chapman told The Toronto Star the key will be to have a short memory.
“We’ve got to put this one behind us but we’ve also got to learn that we have to show up. You can’t just be here and expect to win. We’ve got to put in an effort and we didn’t.”
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The Buffalo Bandits lost their fourth straight home game on Saturday, and coach Darris Kilgour is out of ideas. “When you can’t execute a game plan, you’re in trouble. We were in trouble from the first minute of the game to the last minute … I’m at a loss as to how we get outworked at home again. It’s real old. Real old.” (Buffalo News) … Calgary’s Curtis Dickson felt a sense of duty to do what he did Saturday against Colorado, scoring the tying and a go-ahead goal in regulation, then the overtime winner after a slashing penalty nearly cost his Riggers the playoff-berth clinching win. “That was nice, especially after taking a stupid penalty there at the end like that. The defence bailed me out big time and killed the penalty. I thought I owed it to them to put a couple in the back of the net.” (Calgary Sun) … The Colorado Mammoth went 5-for-6 on the power play against Calgary, but it was that missed opportunity on the final power play courtesy of Dickson’s slash that’s haunting them today. “We had a power-play late and we didn’t (score). Maybe if we finish on that power-play, it’s a different story,” said Mammoth coach Bob Hamley. (ColoradoMammoth.com) … Some of the Roughnecks said there was a bit of rust coming off the bye week, and that was evident early before the Riggers found their groove, said forward Shawn Evans. “We let them sort of dictate the game early. We knew it was a huge game. If we lose that game, we know they’re one game behind us and then it’s a battle to make playoffs. We worked hard for a good team win.” (Calgary Herald) … The Roughnecks announced that the commemorative black warm-up jerseys worn on March 2 for Kaleb Toth Night are up for auction until Tuesday, April 2 at 7 p.m. (MT). As per Toth’s choice, proceeds will benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Southern Alberta. Go to Elevate Auctions to bid.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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