February 2, 2012

Rush Hoping to Hand Mammoth First Loss

from press release

- The Edmonton Rush will look to improve upon their first win of the season as they take on the best team in the National Lacrosse League so far in 2012, the Colorado Mammoth.

Edmonton evened its overall record with a road victory last weekend, taking a resounding 16-5 verdict over the Washington Stealth in Everett. The win pushed the Rush into third spot in the NLL's West Division, two games behind Colorado – the only unbeaten team in the NLL.

This is the second meeting of the season between the West Division rivals. The two clubs met in the Rush's home opener on Jan. 20, with John Grant Jr. Netting the game-winner with 15 seconds remaining to give the Mammoth a 13-12 victory at Rexall Place.

In their first road game of the season, the Rush utilized an 11-goal first half to cruise past the Stealth. After Shawn Williams set the club record for points in a game with nine against Colorado, Corey Small equalled the mark a week later with a nine-point effort against Washington. Small, last year's leading scorer for the Rush, picked up a pair of first-half goals and chipped in seven assists.

Williams 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, against Colorado. The point record had been shared by three players – Corey Small, Ryan Powell, and Ryan Ward. Small equalled 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.

Also leading the attack for the Rush against the Stealth were Zack Greer, who notched a hat trick for the second straight game, and Shawn Williams who picked up six points on three goals and three assists. Scott Evans also had a six-point game (two goals, four assists), and Tom Johnson, who was playing his first game against his former club, registered a five-point effort (two goals, three assists). Aaron Wilson (two goals, two assists) and Ryan Ward (four assists) had four-point games, and the Rush scoring was rounded by singles from Captain Jimmy Quinlan and Chris Corbeil.

The Rush and Mammoth have one of the most intense rivalries in the NLL's West Division. Colorado eliminated the Rush from post-season contention by taking two of three meetings down the stretch of the 2011 schedule.

The Mammoth hold a 12-5 edge in overall action against Edmonton but the Rush have won three of the last four meetings between the teams in Denver. Edmonton has won five of the last nine encounters.

Corey Small's eight-point effort plus six points from Scott Evans, including four goals, paced the Rush to a 14-10 win over the Mammoth at Rexall Place for the only victory that Edmonton earned over Colorado last season. The two teams rounded out a home-and-home weekend series one night later with Colorado taking a 7-6 victory.

The Mammoth all but ended Edmonton's hope for a playoff spot a week later by upending the Rush 13-6 at Rexall Place.

Ryan Ward led Edmonton to two wins over Colorado during the 2010 campaign as he notched seven points in both victories.

The Rush did not earn their first franchise win over the Mammoth until the 2009 season, when they won back-to-back outings in Denver and Edmonton. Over the course of the Rush's first three years in the NLL, the Mammoth had come away with a perfect 7-0 record including a 15-4 win on their home floor in the 2008 season.

Shawn Williams leads the Rush with 15 points through two games. The off-season acquisition from Rochester has notched four goals and 11 assists, and sits two points up on last season's leading scorer Corey Small for tops on the team. Small has four goals and nine assists for 13 points. Ryan Ward (three goals, seven assists) is the only other Rush player to have cracked double-digits in scoring so far.

Thanks to back-to-back hat tricks, Zack Greer is Edmonton's top shooter so far in 2012 with six goals.

Thanks in large part to his 43-save performance against Washington, Rush goaltender Aaron Bold has moved to the top of the NLL's netminding statistics. Bold, who was part of the trade with Rochester that brought Shawn Williams to Edmonton, currently leads the NLL with a 9.00 goals-against average, and is also the league-leader in save-percentage at .824. Bold captured the NLL's Defensive Player of the Week Award this week after stopping 43 of 48 shots that paced the Rush to a 16-5 victory over the Washington Stealth this past Saturday at Comcast Arena.

The Mammoth, winners of the 2006 NLL Champion's Cup, upped their perfect start to the season with last weekend's 14-11 win over Rochester.

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