Seal that deal

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:42 AM ET

The difference between winning and losing has been minimal.

The Edmonton Rush know they could just as easily be winless as they could be undefeated.

Instead they're 1-1 after their first two games of the National Lacrosse League season.

"It's a couple of bounces and a couple of shots, that's the difference," said Rush forward Dan Stroup.

"That's what happened (Saturday). They (Calgary) capitalized and they did to us what we did to Philly last week."

ALMOST EERIE

It was almost eerie how similar the two first games of the season were.

On Saturday against the Calgary Roughnecks, the Rush appeared to have scored the tying goal as time expired only to have it waved off.

Last week, the Philadelphia Wings appeared to have scored the tying goal as time expired only to have it waved off.

In the Rush's case, Stroup was deemed to have a toenail in the crease as he leapt from behind the net and fired the ball past Roughnecks goaltender Andrew Leyshon.

Last week, the final buzzer sounded just before Geoff Snider's desperation shot from centre bounced past Rush goaltender Pat Campbell into the net.

"In this league, I think 40-some per cent of the games last year were one-goal games," said Rush head coach and GM Paul Day.

"We know that. And the times when you get up on a team by three you have to bury them."

Last season, the Rush were on the losing end of all but one close game.

This year veterans such as Stroup, Chris Gill and Jason Wulder were brought in to stem that tide.

Gill was outstanding in the season opener, earning league offensive player of the week honours for his eight-point performance against the Wings.

On Saturday, Stroup had three goals and two assists. Wulder had two goals and four assists.

"That's how this league is," Wulder said.

THE WAY IT GOES

"That's how this team lost a lot of games last year by one or two goals. That's the way it goes.

"That's the difference between good teams and bad teams, being able to win one-goal games. These are the games you have to win."

The difference between winning last week and losing this week was the play of the Rush in the fourth quarter.

Last week the Rush out-scored the Wings 7-3 in the fourth quarter.

On Saturday, they were out-scored 4-1.

"We're paid to score those big goals," Wulder said. "We had some chances (Saturday), but we didn't bury them. And their goalie played awesome at the end. That was the difference."

Regardless of the outcomes, the opening two games of the season have been thrillers for the Rush and their fans.

On Friday, they'll play host to the defending NLL league champions, the Colorado Mammoth.

It'll be the first time Gill and Stroup will face their former teammates.

HAVE TO FINISH

"You can never be happy with a loss," Stroup said. "But we know we're competing and we just have to finish. We have to keep that lead.

"We can't be happy with losses.

"It all comes down to wins. Hopefully we can come back next week."


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