The Edmonton Rush are in the midst of a identity crisis.
They look good enough to win, but don't.
A week ago, the Rush came close to winning their inaugural National Lacrosse League game but fell in overtime to San Jose. Friday night, the Rush battled back from a 7-2 deficit to give the Calgary Roughnecks - the consensus pick to win the Champion's Cup - a run for their money before losing 11-9 at the Saddledome.
Dropping to 0-2 certainly isn't great in a 16-game schedule, especially with the Roughnecks, Arizona and Colorado good bets to sew up three of the four divisional playoff berths. And things don't get easier for the Rush as they have a return match with Calgary and a clash against the defending champion Toronto Rock on the horizon.
"We've got to play more desperate," admitted Rush captain Andrew Turner. "We need a win and we're not going to get an easy win against any of these teams."
Turner refused to use the growing pains of an expansion team as an excuse for the Rush's lack of success. They could have - and maybe should have - won both of their games.
"We're dying for a win and we've got to show it on the floor,"said Turner.
BATTLE FRONT: While there were no fights, there were some good personal battles in Friday's game - none more volatile than the one between the two captains. Turner and Tracey Kelusky of the Roughnecks were at their hackin' and whackin' best all night and both headed to the box in the third after some serious slashing in front of the Edmonton net.
Jimmy Quinlan was in his agitating ways, suckering the Roughnecks into two first-quarter penalties. The scrappy Rush forward did pay the price at times, though, as he was run over by Calgary's rugged rearguard Andy Ogilvie in the second frame. And the feud between Quinlan and Kyle Goundrey that started at the tail end of last season appears alive and well.
ROUGH ASSESSMENT: The rivalry in NLL's Battle of Alberta will definitely get hotter. The first meeting was hardly a tame affair with 52 penalty minutes assessed.
"I don't think this rivalry will get any calmer,"laughed Calgary coach Chris Hall.
"If they want to fight, then they need to bring it. We can answer the bell with anybody in this league."