Rush basking in glow of first victory

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

All the wild and wacky promotions in the world wouldn't attract fans to a losing team.

Which is why last week's first-ever win was so important to the Edmonton Rush. The first-year NLL team unveiled a "March Madness - Final Four" campaign of hooks yesterday to bring out the masses for their last four home games of the season. But admittedly, the stunning victory over Calgary will be the biggest crowd-count factor of all.

"People in Edmonton don't want a winning team. They expect a winning team,"said Rush owner Bruce Urban.

"It's a lot tougher to sell a loser than a winner. We didn't win some games that we should have won, but now we've won one and I think we can get on a roll. We're 1-6 but I'm very excited about the rest of the season."

Building off a one-game roll won't be an easy task. Following this weekend's bye, the Rush will face the daunting task of having two straight weekends of back-to-back games - and with three of the four contests coming on the road.

But the positivity is flowing faster than the beer was at the Rush's inaugural win party.

"Every team improves during the year, but we're seeing more improvement and it's coming quicker,"said A.J. Jomha, the Rush's director of lacrosse operations.

"We've come a long ways and the guys are starting to do all the things we wanted them to do right from the beginning of the year. They're doing them more consistently now and we're starting to see the results of that."

During the six-game slide to start the year, the Rush pleaded that all they needed was one win to get them headed in the right direction.

Now their chatter is based upon a feeling that their luck has turned around and they'll be able to sneak into the playoffs. The big step, though, is turning the talk into action.

"The way we got the win was probably not what we wanted, giving up an 11-7 lead in the last five minutes, but the important thing was we persevered,"said Jimmy Quinlan, the Rush's leading scorer with 23 points.

"The guys in the room truly believe and that win backed up what we'd been thinking all along - that we can win in this league."

The March Madness promos begin with next Saturday's game against Arizona on Rush Vegas Night. The St. Patrick's Day game against Calgary will feature model Brooke Burke and singer Suzie McNeill, along with a pre-game party hosted by the Rush's "St. Paddy" - goaltender Pat Campbell.

On March 25, the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders come to town and March 31 is Fan Appreciation Night.


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