The Saskatchewan Rush opened the 2017-18 National Lacrosse League regular season in fine style “rocking” the Rock 17-9 in Toronto.
Ben McIntosh scored bookend goals, netting the first Rush goal of the season at 1;49 of the opening quarter, with the first of four Saskatchewan power-play markers and ending the scoring his fifth of the game with 2:17 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Rush took a 9-6 lead into halftime and broke the game open early in the second half scoring four of the next five goals starting with Curtis Knight’s second goal of the game just 29-seconds into the third quarter. He added three assists.
Jeff Shattler‘s Rush debut was sensational with two goals and six assists while Ryan Keenan scored once with six helpers. Robert Church had a six-point night with three goals and three assists.
The crisp and quick ball movement in the Toronto zone resulted in good looks and paid off especially on the power play as the Rush were four-for-five while killing off three-of-five Rock advantages.
There was concern late in the first half when last year’s leading point man Mark Matthews went limping to the dressing room but he returned in the second half and ended the night with a goal and four assists to help a potent and balanced Rush offence.
Evan Kirk turned in an impressive 39-save performance in his Rush goaltending debut, while Rock starter Nick Rose was pulled late in the first half after giving up 9-goals on 24 shots. Brandon Miller stopped 25-of-33 shots in relief for a Toronto team off to a 0-2 start.
Although the Saskatchewan defence kept close tabs on Adam Jones, the former Rush forward had a goal and three assists while Brett Hickey paced the Rock attack with three goals.
The Rush will now get ready to host former goalkeeper Aaron Bold and the New England Black Wolves Saturday, Dec. 23. Game time at SaskTel Centre is 7;30 p.m. with the Rush-Hour pregame show on 98-COOL, starting at 6;30.