Rush licking wounds

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:27 AM ET

What now?

A season that started with so much optimism and showed so much promise is suddenly heading in a familiar direction.

And it's not the good one.

"It's hard not to be down after losing by that big a margin," said Rush forward Chris Gill.

"But at the end of the day, the fourth game of the season doesn't decide who's going to win the championship. We're going to lick our wounds and get ready for Arizona."

Saturday's 16-7 loss to the Colorado Mammoth dropped the Rush to 1-3 on the season.

Next up are a pair of encounters against the Arizona Sting, who have won four straight. The two teams meet at Rexall Place (7 p.m.) Saturday, then again in Phoenix the following week.

"We're still a work in progress," said Rush head coach/GM Paul Day. "I think one of the big things we have to do is improve our shooting. We shot high all night and the game plan wasn't to shoot high.

"I think there was definitely some improvement from last game, but you can't score less than three goals in a half of lacrosse and expect to compete in this league. That comes back to finishing your shots."

The Rush had an extra week to prepare between games with the Mammoth.

The time off proved to be a detriment. The Rush were simply not as sharp as their opponents.

"We just have to remain focused and realize that mental mistakes are going to kill us," said Gill.

"We're a team that needs to play 95% mental and if we lack on the mental side of things it's going to hurt us. It's going to reflect on the scoreboard and that's what happened.

After scoring 25 goals in their first two games of the season, the Rush's offence has fizzled. Right now a soda can has more pop.

Jimmy Quinlan, who had 10 goals in his first three games was shut out Saturday. Gill and Dan Stroup, the two hired guns brought in this off-season, were limited to one goal each. Ryan O'Connor and Jason Wulder, two other veterans brought in, failed to register a point.

"I think (Saturday) I had a number of good looks I just didn't do a good job finishing," Quinlan said.

"That's my fault and I have to be better than that. I've got to bury one of those chances... bearing down and making my shots count. I don't think I did a good job in my shot selection."

Running into a hot goaltender didn't help.

Gee Nash made a number of acrobatic saves for the Mammoth in the first half, then shut the door on any potential comeback in the second half. He finished with 39 saves.

Despite the loss, the Rush are still trying to stay positive. The team feels it has the horses, and believe a playoff spot is still within reach.

The Mammoth, after all, are the best team in the NLL right now and look a good bet to repeat as champions. The saving grace is that the Rush don't have to face them again during the regular season.

"I think we had a lot of positives (Saturday)," said Rush captain Andrew Turner. "It's better to focus on those than to dwell on the negatives."


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