Mile High low

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:53 AM ET

DENVER -- The plan was to keep the Colorado Mammoth in front of them. The Edmonton Rush did - for about six minutes.

The Rush were soundly beaten by the Colorado Mammoth for the second time in two weeks, 16-7.

"I thought we played much better in the first half than the scored showed," said Rush head coach-GM Paul Day.

"The things we wanted to change tonight was stopping their transition - and at the end of the night it was 5-5 in transition. I thought we did a good job in transition and in faceoffs. Those were some of the things we wanted to change."

After the six minutes, Tom Ethington got behind the Rush defence, forcing goaltender Pat Campbell to make his first big save. But the Mammoth collected the loose ball and Josh Sims scored on the possession.

Two more and it was an early 3-0 lead.

At the time it appeared the Rush were going to get blown out of the water in front of a large and boisterous crowd of 17,804 at the Pepsi Center in the Mile High City. But they managed to battle back with goals from Chris Gill, Chris McElroy and Rory Glaves.

"We know that with their fans, their building, their announcer, all the hype, that it was going to be crazy for the first five or six minutes," Gill said. "We said if we get down two, three or four that we were going to chip away and that's what we did. It was good to show some character."

But, three straight goals by the Mammoth put the Rush in a hole again. They almost climbed out of it again when Dan Stroup and Rob Williams scored to pull them within a goal at 6-5.

"I thought we did a good job to battle back," said Rush captain Andrew Turner. "At halftime we were down 9-5, but it felt a lot closer than that. Then in the second half we had trouble finding the back of the net."

The Rush scored just twice in the last half, both goals coming in the fourth quarter.

By that time the game was well out of reach and the Mammoth were on their way to their best start in franchise history.

"I'm happy with the win," said Mammoth head coach Gary Gait. "Our guys stepped up. We challenged them to stay focused and sharp in a situation ... against a team that's been at the bottom of the division.

"Our guys stayed sharp and played a nice game."

With the loss the Rush fall to 1-3 on the season. Two of those defeats have come to the Mammoth, including a 16-9 loss at Rexall Place.

The good news is they won't face Colorado again this season.

"There were some positives," said Day. "Our defensive guys scored and you need four or five defensive guys to score every night. We just didn't get our offensive guys scoring."

Goaltender Gee Nash had a big game for the Mammoth making 39 saves. At the other end Campbell was pulled after the Mammoth's 12th goal, giving backup Kurtis Wagner some much-needed playing time.

"We're a young team, we're a work in progress," Day said. "And at the end of the day shooting was the big difference tonight."

IN THE RINGS: Before the game Stroup and Gill presented their 2006 NLL championship rings by Mammoth GM Steve Govett.

It was the first time back in Denver for Stroup.

"I'll have to remember to go to the right (bench)," Stroup said before the game.

"I have a lot of good memories from being here, especially winning it last year.

"But I'm with a new team now and I have to move on and help my new team win. I had a great time here, but things happen - that's sports."


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