February 23, 2012

Rush Looking to Snap Three-Game Skid

from press release

- The Edmonton Rush will look to end a three-game losing streak as they return to Rexall Place for the first time in a month for National Lacrosse League action to host the Philadelphia Wings.

Following a season-high four-game road trip, the Rush came away with just one win by taking out the Washington Stealth in Everett. The road trip saw the Rush lose in Colorado to the league-leading and undefeated Mammoth, in Minnesota, and last Saturday against the Calgary Roughnecks by a 12-8 count.

Edmonton, which sits fourth in the West and has a game in-hand on the rest of the division, sits 4 1/2 games behind Colorado and a 1 1/2 behind third-place Minnesota. Philadelphia leads the tight East Division race and is currently one game up on Toronto, 1 1/2 ahead of Rochester, and two games up on Buffalo.

The Rush and Wings have met just twice since Edmonton joined the NLL in 2006 with both games taking place at Rexall Place. The first meeting between the clubs produced one of the biggest victories in Rush history as the Rush won their first-ever home game with a 13-12 decision in January 2007. The teams did not meet again until the 2009 campaign with the Wings handing the Rush a 14-9 setback.

Last Saturday in Calgary, the Rush dropped their fifth in a row to their provincial rivals. Corey Small and Scott Evans paced the Edmonton attack with two goals apiece, with Tom Johnson (on the power play), Ryan Ward, Zack Greer, and Jarrett Toll adding singles.

The Rush are continuing to be anchored by the defense which has surrendered a league-best 51 goals-against. Much of the thanks has to go to goaltender Aaron Bold who leads the NLL with a 9.80 goals-against average and a .797 save-percentage. Bold's efforts have earned him a spot on the West Division squad for this weekend's NLL All-Star Game.

The Rush are also being aided by standout play from their defense corps including all-stars Kyle Rubisch and Chris Corbeil along with Brett Mydske, who played in last year's All-Star Game. The trio are among the league-leaders in forced turnovers, and Rubisch stands fifth in loose balls.

Shawn Williams and Corey Small are tied with 21 points to top the Rush scoring list. Williams leads the way with 16 assists, two in front of both Small and Ryan Ward. Scott Evans and Zack Greer are the top Rush marksmen with eight goals apiece, one up on Small.

Philadelphia is coming off a big 14-8 win at Toronto last Saturday with Dan Dawson notching his second consecutive 10-point game (3 goals, 7 assists). Brendan Mundorf supplied the Wings with five goals and three assists while Kevin Crowley also hit eight points with three goals and five helpers.

Dan Dawson leads the Wings and is second in the NLL with 41 points. Dawson is also second in the league with 34 assists. Kevin Crowley stands third in the league with 17 goals, one up on teammate Drew Westervelt.

Rush vs. Wings - Season-by-Season Glance

19-14 Wings win at Edmonton (Merrick Thompson scores six goals)

13-12 Rush win at Edmonton

Star Power: The Rush will send three players along with Head Coach Derek Keenan to Saturday's NLL All-Star Game in Buffalo. Defender Kyle Rubisch will be in the West Division's starting six. It will be Rubisch's second straight all-star appearance, though last year's was with the East squad. Aaron Bold, making his first appearance, is the West's No. 2 goaltender, and Shawn Williams will be in the game for the seventh time – his first as a member of the Rush. Keenan will take a spot on the West bench as an assistant coach. Chris Corbeil, who was injured in last Saturday's loss to Calgary, will be unable to play and has been replaced by Washington's Matt Beers ... Former Rush players can be spotted throughout the All-Star Game lineup including Brodie Merrill (East – Philadelphia), Scott Self (East – Buffalo), Gavin Prout (West – Colorado), plus Ryan Benesch and Callum Crawford (West – Minnesota).

Statistically Speaking: The Rush are off to a strong start on special teams with their penalty-killing at 65.0% and the power play at 40.9%. Shawn Williams (3), Ryan Ward (2) and Scott Evans (2) lead the Rush in power-play goals ... The Wings are struggling at the same time on special teams, sitting at 48.0% on the power play and 51.2% on the penalty-kill ... Second-year pro Jarrett Toll sits second on the Rush with 26 loose balls ... Besides Dan Dawson, Kevin Crowley, and Drew Westervelt, the Wings have numerous other frontrunners in several of the NLL's statistical categories. David Brock and Paul Dawson are 1-2 in the NLL in penalty minutes with 40 and 34, respectively, while former Rush netminder Kurtis Wagar is sixth in penalty minutes with 29. Former Rush team MVP Brodie Merrill is ranked third in the NLL with 50 loose balls, while Jeff Reynolds is fourth in faceoffs won with 84.

By The Numbers: The Rush lead the NLL in goals-against with just 51 surrendered through five games, but Edmonton has also scored the fewest goals with only 52 ... Philadelphia is tied for last in the East with just 69 goals-for, and the Wings are second-worst in the league with 77 goals-against ... Despite their lopsided goals-for/goals-against, Wings goalie Brandon Miller is fifth in save-percentage at .755 ... The Rush are 1-4 vs. the rest of the West Division so far this season, and were 1-3 vs. the East Division last season – the lone victory coming in the season finale against Toronto ... Hot starts have helped the Rush this season as they have outscored their opponents 17-9 in first quarters. Edmonton is behind, though, in second quarters trailing 16-8, and in fourth quarters at 15-11.

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