Rush gear up for old rival with new name
The Saskatchewan Rush will face an old rival with a new name on Saturday night in Vancouver. Having split two games to open the National Lacrosse League season — the Rush meet the Warriors, previously known as the Stealth, in their next outing. Here are five things you should know heading into the game, writes Kevin Mitchell. 1.
ONE WIN, ONE LOSS
The defending champion Rush have played twice so far this season, losing 12-11 to the New England Black Wolves on Dec. 28 before rebounding with a 16-12 win over the expansion San Diego Seals at home on Jan. 5.
Vancouver, which struggled to a 2-16 finish last season, opened their new campaign with a 14-13 win over the Calgary Roughnecks before losing three straight — 14-8 to Calgary, 16-10 to Buffalo and 10-8 to Georgia.
THE EARLY SCORING RACE
NLL teams have played anywhere from two to four games so far — Saskatchewan is on the low end — so you’ll have to go all the way down to the No. 13 spot before you find a Saskatchewan player on the top scorers list.
Rush forward Ben McIntosh is tied for 13th overall with 15 points (eight goals, seven assists).
Saskatchewan’s Mark Matthews, who won the overall NLL scoring crown last season, is currently 17th with four goals and nine assists through two games.
Vancouver is led offensively by Logan Schuss, who is tied for fifth overall with six goals, 14 assists and 20 points in four games.
THE NAME CHANGE
The Stealth changed their name to the Warriors after being purchased this summer by Canucks Sports and Entertainment.
The team previously played out of the Langley Events Centre, but their new home is Rogers Arena, home of the NHL’s Canucks. They went a dismal 2-16 last season.
Roster players include former Rush goaltender Aaron Bold. Saskatchewan traded Bold to New England prior to last season, and he signed with Vancouver as a free agent in September.
MILESTONES, 300 STYLE
Rush forward Jeff Shattler scored four goals during Saturday’s win over San Diego, leaving him two markers short of 300 for his career.
McIntosh had a huge night on Saturday, collecting five goals and four assists, and now needs just three more points to reach 300.
The Rush will return home for a Jan. 19 clash against the visiting Rochester Knighthawks, who they beat in last season’s NLL final, before hitting the road for two games — Jan. 27 in Georgia and Feb. 1 in Toronto.
They’ll follow that with a Feb. 9 home date against Calgary.
Jeremy Thompson of the Rush shrugs off San Diego’s Brandon Clelland during last Saturday’s 16-12 win at SaskTel Centre.