Portland too much for Rush

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:04 PM ET

The Edmonton Rush rolled the dice and decided to gamble with a "Guaranteed Win Night."

They hit snake eyes. Craps. You lose.

Down to their final opportunity for a first victory on their home floor, the Rush surrendered three costly scoring flurries to the Portland LumberJax - none worse than a two-goal outburst 24 seconds apart in the fourth quarter.

That final flurry killed a Rush rally and dealt them an eighth straight home defeat. Meanwhile, Portland (7-5) stayed in the hunt for first in the NLL's West Division with a 15-12 decision over the Rush (1-13) in front of 9,613 fans at Rexall Place.

EFFORT THERE

"The end result wasn't there but the effort was," said Rush veteran Jamey Bowen, who scored three power-play goals and added two assists.

If the 36-year-old Bowen, a teacher at St. Francis Xavier high school, retires at the end of the season, at least he went out with a bang.

"I hope it wasn't a last hurrah," said Bowen. "I'd love to see this team grow and stand by my words that we'll win a championship before (Portland)."

The win was there for the taking but the Rush were never able to put a foot on the gas and pull away from the LumberJax. It was another gutsy performance wasted.

"It was definitely within our grasp," said Rush head coach Paul Day.

A see-saw battle in the fourth quarter finally tipped in the Jax' favour when Peter Morgan scored his fifth goal of the game just 41 seconds after Jason Clark had pulled the Rush to 12-11 with his second of the game.

The LumberJax didn't take the "Guaranteed Win Night" personally but there was no way they wanted to be the only team to serve up a home victory to the Rush.

"Not a chance,"said Morgan. "We knew they'd be desperate to win in front of their fans. We really didn't take much notice of it. We knew what we had to do coming in and we got a good result."

A spirited first quarter saw Portland get a pair of goals from Peter Morgan - one on the power play and then a shorthanded marker - but the Rush pulled within one when Kevin Howard slipped a shot from the top of the crease over the shoulder of Jax goalie Dallas Eliuk.

Tied 4-4 at the half, the teams embarked on a wild third quarter that saw the Jax outscore the Rush 6-4 thanks to a pair of two-goal bunches.

Merrill and Peter Morgan notched goals 42 seconds apart and only three minutes later a tally by Del Halladay was followed nine seconds later by Ryan Sharp's breakaway goal off a faceoff.

Portland held a 10-8 lead going into the fourth but the Rush clawed back into it again on goals by Ted Jenner and Mat Giles.

There just wasn't enough left in the Rush tank after the finally flurry, which saw goals by Matt Dwane and Halladay push the Jax ahead once more - and this time for good.

BAD NOTE

"We went through most of the year on a downer and we sure didn't want to end on this note," said Pat Campbell, who was named the Rush's MVP in a pre-game ceremony."I definitely thought we had a shot. Unlike the other games we showed the urgency off the hop but strangely we let down in the end when we usually smell blood and go for it."

QUICK STICKS: Other Rush awards went to Andrew Turner (top defensive player and community service), Cam Bergman (top transition player) and Dwight Maetche (unsung hero). The top scorer award hangs in the balance and will be handed out following the final regular-season game.


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