Sunday, February 18, 2018
RUSH FALL 16-11 IN ROCHESTER
With the defeat, the Rush (8-2) saw their four-game winning streak closed out, and the loss also marked the Rush’s first road of the season as well as their first loss to the Knighthawks in 10 regular-season meetings. Rochester’s last regular-season victory over Saskatchewan came in the 2011 campaign.
The Rush opened up strong with a 3-0 lead before the Knighthawks (4-6) got themselves rolling.
Saskatchewan did still lead 4-3 after the first quarter on a breakaway effort by Ryan Dilks as he raced past two Rochester defenders and beat K-Hawks goalie Matt Vinc over the shoulder.
Mark Matthews put the Rush in front 5-3 early in the second, but the Knighthawks took over the game with a five-goal run including two goals from Cody Jamieson and shot on the run from Brad Gillies that soared past Saskatchewan goalie Evan Kirk. The Gillies’ goal ended the night for Kirk who gave up eight goals on just 19 shots.
Saskatchewan did get some life from the change in net as Jeremy Thompson zipped home a shot on a breakaway and Matthews connected for a first-half hat trick as he rifled a shot past Vinc to leave Rochester ahead 9-7 at halftime. The deficit marked the first time this season the Rush trailed at halftime.
The two teams went back and forth with scoring in the third quarter. A wraparound opportunity for Austin Shanks – a tally that survived a coach’s challenge review – put the K-Hawks up 10-7 but the Rush came right back on a marker from Ben McIntosh as he went hard to the net and put his shot away. The Rush cut the Rochester lead to 10-9 as McIntosh whipped in a quick-stick strike after a setup by Matthews and Jeff Shattler. However, the Knighthawks answered on a late quarter power play of their own when Cody Jamieson beat Rush backup goalie Tyler Carlson.
The Rush drew to within one twice in the fourth as Ryan Keenan, with a rebound off the endboards, and McIntosh, with his hat-trick tally from in tight, both scored on the power play, but the Knighthawks clung to their lead. Cory Vitarelli’s diving goal put the K-Hawks up 13-11 and essentially wrapped up the result for the home squad. Rochester padded the lead with a pair of empty-net goals in the late going.
Mike Messenger also scored for the Rush, while Carlson finished with 19 saves.
The Rush begin a two-game homestand next Saturday as they host another edition of the NLL’s Battle of the Prairies when the Calgary Roughnecks visit Co-op Field at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon.