The Saskatchewan Rush find themselves in a must-win situation Saturday at SaskTel Centre.
The two-time defending National Lacrosse League champions trail the Swarm 1-0 in the Champion’s Cup final following Sunday’s 18-14 loss in Georgia.
The Rush rebounded from an early two-goal deficit to build an 11-7 lead early in the second half. However, they fell victim to the highest scoring team in the regular season as the Swarm scored seven straight goals to open a lead they would never relinquish.
Rush coach and general manager Derek Keenan said that proved to be the turning point.
“They got on a run there,” said Keenan who pointed out they had the game in hand until the Swarm erupted with seven unanswered second half goals.
“We just didn’t have the ball enough, we made too many unforced errors and turnovers and gave them way too many easy possessions that resulted in wearing down our defence, we were tired.”
Captain Chris Corbeil said they just couldn’t stop the Swarm onslaught after appearing to have the game under control.
“We knew we had to do something about it but we just couldn’t, it’s a funny game when a team gets rolling it’s tough to stop them. It felt like they were getting all the possessions, we couldn’t get our defence off and allow out offence to work their stuff.”
Keenan said giving up 15 goals 5-on-5 is out of character for the Rush.
“We’re better than that. I think that’s pretty clear, but we’ll make some adjustments, we’re a better defensive team than that, and we need to take care of the ball better.”
Mark Matthews (four goals, three assists) and Robert Church (two goals, five assists) both had seven-point nights for the Rush, who also got three goals each from Jeremy Thompson and Adam Jones and two from Curtis Knight.
Georgia’s Jordan Hall picked up five goals and three assists in a winning cause.
Georgia outshot Saskatchewan 53-50.
The Rush power play was 4-for-4 and they killed off both Swarm advantages.
Corbeil felt that is a positive aspect of Sunday’s game they can build on.
“We’re confident we can win two games in a row and a little adversity may be the wake up we need I guess.”