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Sunday, June 10, 2018

SASKATCHEWAN CAPTURES NLL TITLE

(SaskRush.com)
SASKATOON - It was mission accomplished for the Saskatchewan Rush.

The Rush downed the Rochester Knighthawks 15-10 in a series-deciding Game 3 of the NLL championship series on Saturday before 13,645 spectators at the SaskTel Centre.

A year ago, the Rush were swept 2-0 in the best-of-three National Lacrosse League championship series by the Georgia Swarm. It was a tough pill to swallow after winning the NLL championship the previous two seasons, and the team made it a goal to return to the league's mountaintop this season.

Saskatchewan captured the newly minted National Lacrosse League Cup, which replaced the Champion's Cup as the NLL's title trophy.

"It feels great, because it was disappointment last year for all our guys,'' said Rush head coach Derek Keenan. "We talked about it from the very first day of training camp.

"I remember being in Toronto our first game of the regular season and saying to our guys, 'You know what. I think last year was a blip on the radar for this team, this organization. We are going to get it done this year.' They've been focused on that all year.''

The first quarter was a defensive struggle. The visiting Knighthawks broke through on the scoreboard with 44.9 seconds to play in the frame on a diving shot by forward Josh Currier. He would score four times on the night.

The Rush opened the second quarter exploding for four goals to go up 4-1, and the contest went back and forth from that point.

The hosts held a 6-4 edge at halftime, but the Knighthawks surged ahead 8-7 at the 9:42 mark of the third quarter.

The Rush pushed back and went ahead 11-8 only for the Knighthawks to cut the lead to 11-10 with 12 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

Saskatchewan sealed victory with a final surge of four goals.

The Knighthawks were searching for their first NLL title since 2014. They started the 2018 campaign at 2-6 before rallying to finish the regular season with a 10-8 record and advancing to the NLL title series in the playoffs.

The Rush topped the NLL regular season standings at 14-4 and went 3-1 in the post-season.

"It is an awful feeling right now, but where these guys were, you can't say enough about their compete level and what they do for each other,'' said Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen. "It is nice to be a part of.

"It sucks big time that we weren't able to finish the way that we wanted to. I think this one is special, because we weren't supposed to be here. These guys were supposed to win.

"I think we pushed them to the limit as much as we could.''

Jeff Shattler scored four goals for the Rush, captain Chris Corbeil had a hat trick, while Ben McIntosh, Ryan Keenan, Curtis Knight and Matthew Dinsdale each scored twice.

Cody Jamieson had a hat trick for the Knighthawks while Joe Resetarits, Austin Shanks and Eric Fannell each scored singles.

Shattler was named the MVP of the NLL playoffs.

"I love playoffs,'' said Shattler. "I've always been a playoff player.

"I love the intensity of it. I love that it is a do or die situation. That is why I play lacrosse. I can't tell you how happy I am right now.''

Evan Kirk made 37 stops in goal for the Rush. Matt Vinc turned away 37 shots in goal for the Knighthawks.

Saturday's game marked the third time in team history and third time in the last four years the Rush franchise has won the NLL crown. The Rush claimed their first league title back in 2015 in the franchise's final season in Edmonton.

They won their second title in 2016 in their first season in Saskatchewan.

The Rush left Edmonton following the 2015 campaign after the club was unable to secure a long-term lease deal.

"It is unbelievable,'' said Corbeil "It just kills me, because we should have four of four.

"I'm obviously being greedy. Georgia was a great team last year.''

Corbeil enjoyed Saturday's win and was surprised by the weight of the league's new championship trophy.

"It was heavy,'' said Corbeil. "I couldn't believe it.

"I haven't done enough shoulder presses lately, so I will be passing it off.''

(Canadian Press/Dan Ralph)

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

this team was on a mission since losing last years final..this is why a team plays hard all year,to have "home field advantage"! att:roughriders! Congrats Rush nation,truly deserving CHAMPIONS!!

Anonymous said...

"SASKATCHEWAN" Rush Win another Championship right here in the Beautiful City of Saskatoon before almost 14,000 delirious fans. "Good on you Rush" !
When is the last time Regina won a Championship before such a big crowd ? Go Riders !

Anonymous said...

Oh my toontowners think they are a big deal now, first thing they do is insult Regina. News flash Ahole we don't care. Oh and for your stupid comment about winning a championship, 2013 before 45,000 and a National TV audience of millions. A championship the whole province celebrated.

Scott Thompson said...

2013

Anonymous said...

Well done RUSH.
As a team that showed up in Saskatoon after departing Edmonton. Then to go on to win 2 Championships in 3 seasons is in itself an incredible feat. The Saskatton RUSH fans have been treated extremely well! Due to so much winning the RUSH fan base grew quickly in our Northern City.
My curiosity is how well will the support remain once the Champs go through a reloading or even a rebuilding year or 2 when they are not winning. If the RUSH fans continue to support them. They will be around for years to come.
I did go to a game in Saskatoon. Yes the crowd gets into it. It's loud and raucous. Unfortunately I find the game itself dosent do to me what a proffessional game is suppose to do. If I'm being up front. The game itself felt like I was watching a really good High School rivalry between Campbell and Leboldus or Thom and Oneil. I'm talking about the product on the field of play. It just didn't feel proffessional at all.
Anyway Conratulations and all the best for continued support.

Sir Gallahan of the Prairies
Knighted by the Saskatchewan Party
Holder of the Challase of the Prairie Chollas

Anonymous said...

I believe the Riders recently won a Grey Cup at home just five years ago before nearly 50,000 fans!!! The city of regina aka the city of champions!

Anonymous said...

Wow, it didn't take long for me to Ruffle a few Feathers to the Banjo Pickers in Regina with my comment on the Rush being Champions. Yes Saskatchewan had a couple of huge crowds for Grey Cup but they sure as hell didn't all come from Regina. Thousands travel from all across the Province and out of Province for those game and you know it. And then there is the great BURNT Center where the Patsies play . 6000 per game for some games this winter but only because they had to buy season tickets to get to see the Memorial Cup and even then they had Dismal crowds. Next winter the Patsies will sit where they belong and will be back to drawing 32 to 3400 per game. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Regina. Oh, and I can't wait for the crying on this one. lol

Anonymous said...

It's funny there's no comments allowed on the rider cuts. Trying to insulate the team from some criticism?

Anonymous said...

Travelled to Saskatoon for the game. It was a great game and atmosphere, had fun attending and was happy I went. But was disappointed it wasn't sold out after doing so the last couple of years. I guess winning isn't always the answer to get support and sell outs. Are we seeing the lustre start to come off or people being bored of them winning? Whatever the reason it certainly was disappointing to see so many empty seats. And the price of the tickets were definitely not the problem. What is going to happen if this team starts to have losing seasons and it isn't such a trendy thing to do anymore? Is the Rush to blame for not promoting the game enough? Not trying to bash a city, team or a fan base, just disappointed not more showed up.

Anonymous said...

Your envy is showing toontowner. I imagine you were one of dozens attending the rally today at the Bessborough. Interesting how out of towners think they are the only ones going to Rider games, again the envy thing.