Saturday, January 7, 2017
RUSH OPEN SEASON WITH 18-10 LOSS AT GEORGIA
The Swarm’s three Thompson brothers – Myles, Lyle and Jerome – combined for seven goals while Shayne Jackson and Randy Staats teamed for another seven. Georgia finished the game 5-for-10 on the power play and added three shorthanded goals in a special teams onslaught. Georgia’s Thompson trio was joined by the Rush’s Jeremy Thompson in setting a world record for most brothers playing in the same professional sports event.
Georgia jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first quarter before the Rush tied it up on Adam Jones’ first goal in Saskatchewan colors and the second of the game for Mark Matthews. Jones, the massive off-season acquisition for the Rush, went airborne as he neared the crease and completed his terrific individual effort by beating Swarm goalie Brodie MacDonald.
After the Swarm regained the lead at 4-3, the Rush seemed to turn the game in their favor as they rattled off four straight goals to start the second quarter. Curtis Knight struck on the power as he stood at the edge of the crease and quick-sticked a pass from Matthews in the back of the net. Just 35 seconds later, Jones whipped a shot in for his second of the night to put Saskatchewan up 5-4. Only 42 seconds after that, Ryan Keenan, the first overall pick in the 2016 NLL Entry Draft, notched his first professional goal when he took a nifty feed from Matthews and fired a shot in. Robert Church then put the Rush up 7-4 and chased MacDonald from the net when he used the defender as a screen and put an unassisted tally away.
Mike Poulin, the former Calgary Roughnecks goalie, went between the pipes for the Swarm and his new team responded with four unanswered goals, including three straight on the power play. Two of Georgia’s man-advantage goals came 30 seconds apart during a five-minute major for cross-checking assessed to Saskatchewan rookie defenceman Mike Messenger, giving Georgia an 8-7 edge at halftime.
Georgia’s run extended to seven straight goals and the Swarm went up 11-7 on a shorthanded breakaway effort from rookie first-round pick Bryan Cole. Robert Church’s second of the game finally ended the Swarm’s roll and got Saskatchewan closer at 11-8, but the fourth quarter saw Georgia go another tear.
Jackson, with the Swarm down two men, and Lyle Thompson, coming straight out of the penalty box, scored back-to-back shorthanded goals 31 seconds apart to put Georgia up 15-9. Adrian Sorichetti got one back for the Rush at the end of a power play, but the Swarm kept their offence humming on the fourth of the game for both Jackson and Miles Thompson. Adding insult to injury was Jerome Thompson’s tally – a behind-the-back bounce shot that eluded Rush goalie Tyler Carlson with less than five minutes to go.
Mark Matthews finished off Saskatchewan’s scoring with his hat trick, and the Rush’s top offensive talent ended the night with five points. Church, Jones, and Knight all tallied three points for Saskatchewan.
It was a difficult outing for Carlson, who minded the net in place of Rush starter and 2016 Champion’s Cup MVP Aaron Bold, who was suspended for the game due to his altercation at the end of the Christmas Showdown. Carlson gave up all 18 goals and managed 34 games. Meanwhile, Poulin was strong in relief, surrendering just three goals and totaling 20 saves.
The Rush are back in action next Saturday as they visit the Toronto Rock. The team’s much-anticipated home opener and 2016 Champion’s Cup banner raising will take place on Saturday, Jan. 21 when the Rush host the Rochester Knighthawks.
(Sask Rush PR)