Rush lead way to 0-6

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:29 PM ET

The Edmonton Rush had a lead. Several times, in fact. And by more than one goal.

They even scored on the power play. Heck, the Rush even hit for a shorthanded tally.

But the monkey on their backs has officially become an 800-pound gorilla because there's still a big, fat goose-egg in the win column.

The Toronto Rock spoiled the Rush's best effort of the season, escaping with a 13-11 win and their second victory in less than 24 hours.

"We can be positive that it was another good game but at the end of the game it's another loss," said Rush forward Jamey Bowen after the Rush dropped to 0-6 before a crowd of 11,019.

"It's like Groundhog Day. The effort's there again and again and we lose. It's frustrating."

Bowen and fellow local product Darren Hillier each scored twice but both had grim looks on their face. Just being close isn't good enough.

"They looked tired and we didn't take advantage of that,"said Hillier. "They played a much smarter game than we did. They took advantage of their chances and we fell short."

The Rush grabbed a two-goal cushion midway through the second quarter when Hillier, off a breakout feed from Andy Turner, and Kevin Howard scored 37 seconds apart.

But the Rock didn't let the Rush's lead last long as they ran into penalty trouble - something head coach Paul Day insisted would be key for his team to avoid.

Josh Sanderson and Colin Doyle promptly beat Pat Campbell on the power play to tie things up 4-4. Doyle connected for a second time on the power play but Jimmy Quinlan pushed the Rush into a 5-5 tie at the half when he crashed the crease and tucked a low shot behind Bob Watson.

The Rock were weary warriors and the Rush cranked up their speed game in the third quarter, racking up a pair of goals in transition including Hillier's second of the night on a breakaway.

Edmonton kept trying to run the Rock ragged but they weren't able to run away on the scoreboard despite two breakaway goals from Ted Jenner and a shorthanded marker by Bowen.

Aaron Wilson tied it 11-11 just after Bowen's goal and the Rock went ahead for good when Matt Shearer was left alone to pluck a rebound off Campbell. Phil Sanderson, with his second of game, iced it with an empty-netter.

"We had a couple of mental mistakes, but it was about game experience," said Day. "It's such a momentum game. The goal that Brad Beisel got, we were really pressing and then the ball squirts out and up the floor he goes."

The Rock will take it no matter how it looked. After an 0-4 start, the defending NLL champs are back to scratch at 4-4.

"This was a must win for us," said Wilson, whose four goals last night gives him nine against the Rush in two meetings.

"We're all tired, we're banged up. I'm playing on one leg. It was a gutsy effort by our team. We did not want to lose to that team."

Josh Sanderson had a goal and seven assists for the Rock.


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