One is a lonely number, but the Edmonton Rush is cuddling up cosy to it.
A single straight line in the win column sure beats the ominous round digit that seemed to have had a relentless grip on the Rush. Not only is the goose egg gone after Friday's dramatic 12-11 win over the Calgary Roughnecks, so too is another beast of burden.
"See this monkey. Show him the door," said the Rush's veteran backup goaltender Dwight Maetche, playfully ripping the imaginary weight off his shoulder.
GOAL WITH 0.1 SECONDS LEFT
Cam Bergman's goal with 0.1 seconds left in regulation time sent the Rush players onto the floor and into a celebration that looked more fitting for a team that had won the NLL title than its first game in franchise history. They're a long way off from a championship high, but at least now they can act and talk like winners instead of having to recycle the cliches about a team on the verge of success.
By beating the Roughnecks and getting rid of the "winless" tag, the Rush probably has restored an ounce of faith in those predicting it was doomed to an 0-for-season.
"If there ever was a time to start taking stress tablets, that was it," said Rush owner Bruce Urban after seeing his team cough up a late lead only to steal the victory at the last possible moment.
"That feels good - unbelievable. I'm sticking with what I said all along. We're going to play .500 ball and we're going to make the playoffs. It's a huge climb, but there's been such improvement."
Selling a team that actually has a win must be a whole lot easier than trying to stir up interest in seeing a club that merely believes a win is coming.
"People are always going to be naysayers when you're an 0-for team, but we're not an 0-for anymore," said Urban, whose club is only two games out of the West Division playoff picture.
Urban has also turned the tables on his Calgary counterpart Brad Banister. Just like the Edmonton boss had done three weeks ago, the Roughnecks owner publicly chastised his team this past week, saying that "everyone on our team sucks." After giving up the first win to the provincial rivals, Banister's band of underachievers is 3-4 and major changes are likely in store.
Certainly one area where the Rush is miles ahead of the Roughnecks is in goal. Pat Campbell turned in another incredible performance, making 54 saves against Calgary and earning a DVD player and watch from Sportsnet as the game's MVP. If the trend continues, Campbell, who has racked up 107 stops over the past two games, will be on the way to adding "team" in front of those three letters by season's end and taking Urban for a trinket or two.
"He stood on his damned head," said Rush forward Trent Smalley of Campbell's heroics. "Fifty-four saves against some of the best shooters in the league, that's unheard of. He's a big part of the reason we won."
Campbell robbed Calgary's Kevin Dostie on the Roughnecks' 44th shot of the game and stoned both Tracey Kelusky and Jason Wulder late in the fourth quarter.
The fiery netminder almost served up overtime to the Roughnecks when he blew a clearing attempt that led to Calgary's 11th goal with less than 10 seconds to go, but he was bailed out by Bergman.
Fittingly, the lucky break the Rush got on the game-winner saved Campbell's bacon.
He'd done it so many times for the Rush in previous games, and without him, the Rush would never have been in place to beat the Roughnecks. With that show, Campbell moved into fifth place among the league's stoppers with a .782 save percentage.
"I feel like a lot of the guys do, that we're in the zone now," said Campbell.
Time will only tell if that zone holds positives results for the long term or if it is merely a flash in the pan.