Empty effort

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 2:40 PM ET

Jimmy Quinlan can annoy the bejeebers out of darn near anybody.

He's a superpest to play against and with his gift for gab, he's quite often a hard guy to rein in inside his own team's locker-room.

It should have come as no surprise then that Quinlan would wreak some havoc the first chance he got to wear an Edmonton Rush jersey.

He banged and crashed, poked and jabbed.

He took two trips to the penalty box and scored twice.

All in all, it was a Jim-dandy exhibition of Quinlan at his best.

"I was excited to play, maybe too excited," said Quinlan, who was a pesky force for the Rush in a 9-8 loss to the Portland LumberJax in a closed scrimmage between the National Lacrosse League expansion teams yesterday at Rexall Place.

"I'm a bit of an agitator - I've always been that way and it sometimes gets me into some trouble. But first game out in a while, I think it went pretty well."

BIZARRE ATMOSPHERE

The pre-season game was played in front of an empty house as NLL rules forbid an exhibition matchup to be held with fans in the stands.

It was a somewhat bizarre atmosphere with booming music and a P.A. voice blasting at no one but surprisingly not a first experience for Quinlan and a few teammates.

"The guys who were lined up at the start, we were kind of laughing that it reminded us of some other teams in the league who don't have any fans," said the Sherwood Park product who came to the Rush in a trade with the reigning league champion Toronto Rock.

"Even though there were no fans there still were a lot of jitters.

"Once you get going you kind of forget about it and there was no cheering after you score or after the fight, but after that you're kind of focused on the game.

"We were a little jumpy as a whole team at the start and then once we settled in we got our legs and it went a little better. From start to finish we progressed."

Quinlan got fingered for roughing in the game's opening minute and then shortly afterwards was right back in the box on a hitting from behind call which landed the Jax a power-play tally.

Quinlan got the Rush's first goal, ironically a short-handed marker, and then got his club back in the hunt with 3:07 left in the game as he popped in a pass from Jamey Bowen before being hammered to the turf in front of the Portland net.

The Rush's goal of the game came from rookie Colin Sherbanuk, who gunned a laser from 25 feet out past Matt King in the fourth quarter.

"I was pretty nervous. If this would have been full house, it would have been pretty scary to play," said Sherbanuk.

Bowen, Kyle McEwen, Brad Dairon, Cam Bergman and Jordan Cornfield also scored for the Rush though the offence is definitely still a work in progress.

"The ball's got to be a lot hotter - played with a lot more speed," said Rush head coach Paul Day. "Whenever we ran hard, we were pretty successful."

CAPTAIN NAMED

Prior to the start of the game, the Rush named Andrew Turner as the first captain in franchise history with Bowen and Dairon selected as alternates. Turner was the league's top defenceman last season in Rochester.

"He's very vocal around the team," said Day.

"He does a good job of deciding when to talk and when to take control of the players."


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