The Saskatchewan Rush are planning a more tenacious and intense defensive game in 2017-18 and hope that starts in Saturday’s regular-season opener against the Rock in Toronto.
Jeff Cornwall will likely play a prominent role. The left-shooting transition-defender acquired from Buffalo in a trade during his rookie season scored the biggest goal of his career in the 2016 final. The Simon Fraser University graduate buried the 2016 Champion’s Cup winning goal. However, Cornwall is among Rush returnees who are determined to capture another National Lacrosse League title. He called last year’s loss to Georgia in the final a learning experience.
“Highly competitive games in those last two games we played against them, ultimately they were the team that deserved it more on those nights, so we have to come into this season, playing every game like it’s a championship game focusing on getting back to that point so we can get a different result next time.”
Cornwall’s personal goals for 2017 are simple.
“Be a better player all around,” said Cornwall who increased his goal total by four and counted 12 more points last season with a total of 10 goals and 26 points in 2017.
“I’ll probably lock it down a little more on the defensive end, something I got away from a little bit (last season), because I was having a little bit of success running up the floor.”
He is committed to the team’s goal of playing tougher defence.
“I think we’re trying to hold teams to a couple less goals (per game), probably like around 10,” said the 6’2” 218 lb veteran who stated the team has the kind of offensive attack to succeed if they meet their goals-against target.
“Offensively if we put up 12 every game or so, we’d win 12-10 every game, that would be ideal, but we’ll see how that works out.”
The six-year veteran had an outstanding game in last season’s 15-10 win over the Rock with an assist, seven loose balls and a season-high three forced turnovers.
First face-off Saturday is at 6 p.m. with 98-COOL coverage beginning with the Rush-Hour pregame show at 5 p.m.