Just win, baby

DEREK VAN DIEST, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

The Edmonton Rush need to start winning.

They don't care if it's exhibition games, regular season games or fights in the parking lot.

The second-year National Lacrosse League team needs that winning feeling.

"It's got to start (tonight)," said Rush goaltender Pat Campbell. "It's got to start before we get into the regular season. I've always said it's like a light switch; once you turn it on, it's going to stay lit."

Last season the Rush won only one of their 16 regular-season games.

Three weeks ago they lost their first exhibition game of this season to the Calgary Roughnecks.

Tonight in Lethbridge the two teams meet again for another pre-season tilt.

"I think it's very important to compete in this game at the level that we want to compete at during the regular-season," said Rush head coach and general manager Paul Day.

"We want to make sure we treat this as a regular-season game. We want to get that winning feeling on our team that we didn't have last year."

In the team's first pre-season contest back on Dec. 8, the Rush fell behind 9-1 to the Roughnecks before making a game of it, eventually succumbing 19-16.

Campbell, last year's team MVP, had a rough night.

He gave up six goals on the first 10 shots before getting pulled, then conceded another 10 after being reinserted.

D-MEN SITTING OUT

"In the first exhibition game we had about seven of our main defencemen sitting out," Day said.

"We'll have them back in the lineup for this one. We tried to get as much offence as possible in the first game and we want to keep building on that and get as much chemistry as we can on the power play."

Offensively - once the nerves were out and the Rush had spotted the Roughnecks an eight-goal lead - things went well during their first pre-season game, especially on the power play.

Forwards Chris Gill and Dan Stroup were brought in to bolster the offence in general and the power play in particular.

That they did.

"We knew we were going to have a better power play this season and we spent quite a bit of time working on it in the pre-season," Day said.

AHEAD OF THE CURVE

"But I think as a group, we're quite a bit ahead of the curve as far as the first exhibition game was concerned."

Gill and Stroup were also brought in to produce a winning attitude.

The pair helped the Colorado Mammoth win the league championship last season.

"They're not worried about making the team or making an impression, which was the case with the young players we had in last year," Day said.

"They're worried about winning and doing all the little things and teaching the young guys ...

''Showing them exactly what it's going to take to win all the time."

And the sooner the Rush learn what it takes to win, the better off they'll be with the games that count in the standings.

"We need to prove to ourselves that we can win especially with a new group of players," Campbell said.

"This is an essential game and winning is an essential part of that."


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