Rush hope fans liked what they saw

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 1:14 PM ET

A loss wasn't the desired outcome, but the Edmonton Rush feel they did enough in their inaugural game to make a good first impression.

The debut of the National Lacrosse League in Edmonton drew a crowd of 11,385, and they were entertained. It was a physical affair between the Rush and San Jose Stealth and the two defensive-minded clubs combined for 19 goals. And although the Stealth took the decision 10-9 in overtime, there was a measure of satisfaction in the Rush camp.

"For our first game and for the fans, I thought it was fantastic," said Jamey Bowen, one of the Rush's local heroes who also scored the first goal in franchise history.

"If the fans don't come back, I guess they'll be the ones missing out."

While the majority of fans weren't up to speed on the rules or particularly happy with the constant bombardment of music during play, they seemed to appreciate the action. After the Stealth's OT winner, the crowd was on its feet applauding the effort - an encouraging note for the Rush.

"We had the same situation in Buffalo when I was a player," recalled Rush head coach Paul Day. "We had about 9,000 for our first game and we lost. We had 13,000 the next game and lost and after that we went on a run of 21 straight sold-out crowds."

It certainly doesn't hurt that the Rush now embark on a home-and-home series with the rival Calgary Roughnecks. An upcoming ad in the Calgary Sun taken out by Rush owner Bruce Urban will feature a cocky message to fan the flames in the Battle of Alberta.

WORK IN PROGRESS: By hockey standards, a 3-for-7 night on the power play is a job well done, but in lacrosse, that's not good enough. Capitalizing on the man-advantage is one of the key areas on offence the Rush need to improve against the Roughnecks.

"We need to do a better job on the power play and in transition,"said Day. "We had a lot of chances on the breakaway or a 2-on-1 that we really need to finish."

Edmonton also had its share of penalty woes especially three trips to the box for too many men.

FRIENDS AND FOES: The clash between the Stealth and Rush meant a reunion for a good number of players from the Victoria Shamrocks who captured the Mann Cup national title this summer.

With the Stealth's victory, it was Derek Malawsky and goalie Anthony Cosmo who earned NLL bragging rights.

"They're brothers for life when you win a championship together," said Malawsky, who had a five-point night against the Rush. "Off the floor, we're great buddies but on the floor everybody goes against each other like we're worst enemies."

THE COMMISH LIKES IT: NLL commissioner Jim Jennings came away impressed by the Rush's opener in more ways than one. He was more than satisfied with the crowd count and quickly put Edmonton in the top three in the category of attractive dance team cheerleaders.

"Colorado's are the best and Toronto's are good too, but the ones here certainly rival them," smiled Jennings.

QUICK STICKS: Friday's game was delayed more than 10 minutes as a large walk-up crowd swamped ticket outlets at Rexall Place. It was the same problem that plagued Northlands staff in the gold-medal game of last spring's CIS University Cup hockey tournament.


Videos

Photos