5 REA­SONS TO CHEER

Here’s what you need to know as the Saskatchewan Rush pre­pare for the up­com­ing Na­tional Lacrosse League sea­son, writes Kevin Mitchell

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - SPORTS - [email protected]­media.com twit­ter.com/ kmitchsp

1. Back From Toronto

The Rush held their first train­ing-camp ses­sion last week­end in Toronto, stag­ing workouts and play­ing the Toronto Rock to a 1212 scrim­mage tie. The Rock led 10-4 at half­time, but Saskatchewan chipped away in the sec­ond half and even­tu­ally sal­vaged the draw. “There wasn’t as much rust as I thought there would be,” Saskatchewan head coach and gen­eral man­ager Derek Keenan said this week. “We had a lot of new bod­ies on the de­fen­sive side, and some break­downs in the first half against Toronto, then played a lot harder and bet­ter in the sec­ond half. Over­all, a re­ally good week­end. The guys worked hard, and ev­ery­body’s fit.”

2. Fresh Face

The Rush swung a trade ear­lier this week, ac­quir­ing vet­eran de­fender Travis Corn­wall from the Van­cou­ver War­riors (pre­vi­ously the Van­cou­ver Stealth) in ex­change for a sec­ond-round draft pick in 2020. Corn­wall is the brother of Rush de­fender/ tran­si­tion Jeff Corn­wall, who is tak­ing this sea­son off af­ter land­ing a job with the Burn­aby Fire Depart­ment. Travis Corn­wall, orig­i­nally drafted by Cal­gary in 2011, col­lected four goals, four as­sists and 32 loose-ball scoops while caus­ing nine turnovers last sea­son for Van­cou­ver.

3.

Ink­ing Deals

The Rush an­nounced a flurry of sign­ings over the last sev­eral days, ink­ing for­ward Marty Dins­dale to a three-year pact on Fri­day, sign­ing Jeremy Thomp­son and backup goal­tender Tyler Carl­son to one-year deals on Thurs­day, and be­fore that, sign­ing Ryan Keenan, Matt Hos­sack and league MVP Mark Matthews to three-year deals. Nick Fin­lay signed for one year. Robert Church, Mike Mes­sen­ger and Nik Bilic re­main un­signed.

4.

The Matchup

Saskatchewan fin­ished first over­all in the NLL last sea­son with a 14-4 record, while Cal­gary was third in the West Divi­sion with an 8-10 mark. The Rush beat the Rough­necks 15-13 to claim the West Divi­sion crown. Saskatchewan then beat Rochester in the best-of-three fi­nal.

5.

Up Next

The Rush get a bye dur­ing the NLL’s first two week­ends, which means their first game isn’t un­til Dec. 28, when they travel to New Eng­land to play the Black Wolves. Their home opener is Jan. 5 against the ex­pan­sion San Diego Seals.

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