January 27, 2012

Rush Searching for First Win

from press release

- The Edmonton Rush will try to bounce back from a season-opening loss and grab their first win of the 2012 National Lacrosse League campaign as they take on the division-rival Washington Stealth.

This is the first of two meetings this season between the Rush and the Stealth, who were the West Division champions a year ago losing the NLL Champion's Cup to Toronto. The Stealth trek to Rexall Place to take on the Rush on Saturday, March 24.

The Rush got a record-setting performance from Shawn Williams, who was making his debut with the club, last week against Colorado, but Edmonton still came up short in their home opener as the Mammoth registered a 13-12 win.

Williams, who was acquired from Rochester during the off-season, broke the Rush team record for points in a game with nine, and also broke the club mark for assists in a game with eight. The point record had been shared by three players – Corey Small, Ryan Powell, and Ryan Ward. Small equaled the record last season against Colorado while Powell and Ward each notched eight-point games during the 2010 season. The previous assist record of seven had been held by Gavin Prout who set the mark against Colorado in 2010 – the same game which Powell had tied the points in a game standard.

Zack Greer and Ryan Ward both picked up hat tricks against the Mammoth last week with Ward also supplying three assists. Corey Small had a four-point effort with two goals and two assists, while Brett Mydske, Tom Johnson, and Scott Evans added a goal each.

Despite giving up 13 goals, new Rush netminder Aaron Bold was solid between the pipes, keeping the Rush close throughout the first half and in particular the second quarter when the Rush were outscored 5-0 by Colorado.

The Rush hold a 5-11 all-time regular-season record against the Washington/San Jose franchise, and the Stealth also clutch to the lone playoff victory in the teams' history – an overtime thriller that sent Washington to the 2010 Champion's Cup final.

Edmonton did take two of three regular-season meetings last season from Washington. The Rush, who opened last season with a dreadful 0-5 start, finally picked up their first victories of the campaign by dropping the Stealth on both ends of a home-and-home weekend series in early February. Opening up at Rexall Place, the Rush notched a 14-12 verdict and then a night later in Everett, the Rush got hat-trick efforts from both Corey Small and Brett Mydske on their way to a 15-14 decision. Scott Evans and Ryan Ward also chipped in two goals each for the Rush in the second victory.

But the Stealth bounced back and damaged the Rush's late-season playoff surge with a 18-10 win at Rexall Place on the first weekend of March despite a four-goal game from Rush leading scorer Corey Small.

Washington is off to a rough start to the 2012 season as the Stealth and Toronto – who have played in the last two Champion's Cup finals – are both saddled with 0-2 marks. The Stealth dropped their home-opener 13-10 to Calgary and were then topped 10-9 at Philadelphia.

Rush vs. Stealth - Season-by-Season Glance

14-12 Rush win at Edmonton (Scott Evans scored one goal and adds seven loose balls)
15-14 Rush win at Washington (Corey Small notches three goals and three assists)
18-10 Stealth win at Edmonton

15-7 Stealth win at Washington (Lewis Ratcliff scored twice and adds five assists)
14-13 Rush OT win at Edmonton (Gavin Prout connects for seven points including three goals)
14-13 Rush win at Washington (Ryan Ward leads the way with four goals)
*12-11 Stealth OT win at Washington (Paul Rabil notches game-winner eight seconds into OT)*denotes playoff game – West Division Final

16-6 Stealth win at San Jose (Cam Sedgwick scores four goals and adds two assists)
11-10 Stealth win at San Jose (Jeff Zywicki racks up seven points including three goals)

11-8 Stealth win at Edmonton (Colin Doyle notches four goals and adds two assists)
12-5 Rush win at Edmonton (Jimmy Quinlan picks up the hat trick)
14-6 Stealth win at San Jose (Colin Doyle chips in four assists)

11-9 Stealth win at Edmonton (Jeff Zywicki counts five points including three goals)
14-7 Stealth win at San Jose (Jeff Zywicki notches nine-point game including five goals)
9-8 Stealth win at San Jose (Colin Doyle paces attack with five points)

10-9 Stealth OT win at Edmonton (Jeff Zywicki scores three goals including game-winner)
12-11 Stealth win at San Jose (Jeff Zywicki picks up hat trick plus two assists)

Statistically Speaking: The Rush power play, which was a sore spot a year ago, got off to a decent start by going 2-for-3 against Colorado. Ryan Ward and Shawn Williams each potted power-play markers for Edmonton in the third quarter ... Ryan Ward, who was amongst the NLL leaders in shorthanded goals last season, picked up his first shorthanded goal of the year in the fourth quarter ... Chris Corbeil, acquired from Buffalo during the off-season by the Rush, picked up right where he left off last season as one of the league's top loose ball collectors, grabbing a game-high 11 against Colorado ... Washington's Rhys Duch is second in the NLL with 21 loose balls.

By The Numbers: After going through numerous faceoff men last season, the Rush utilized second-year pro Jarrett Toll on the draw against the Mammoth and he took 24 faceoffs while Tyler Codron stepped in for six ... Washington's Bob Snider stands fourth in the NLL in both loose balls (19) and faceoff wins (26) ... Stealth netminder Tyler Richards is third in the NLL with a .772 save-percentage and is ranked fourth in goals-against average at 12.33.

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