Home games seem a rarity for Rush

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

They've been away so long, it's easy to forget the Edmonton Rush still exist.

Considering their last two performances were less than memorable, that might not be such a bad thing.

This Rush are back in town on Sunday to host the Colorado Mammoth in the first of three consecutive home games for the National Lacrosse League club.

"It's been a tough stretch for us so far," said Rush coach and GM Bob Hamley. "Five of our first seven games have been on the road.

"I think it was a perfect time, our bye week, and the guys needed a rest and needed to re-energize for the home stretch that we have coming up."

The Rush have not played since dropping a 16-9 decision in Toronto to the Rock on Feb. 7. The previous week they were hammered 16-6 on the road by the San Jose Stealth.

The Rush currently sit last in the NLL West with a 2-5 record, a game back of the Minnesota Swarm for the fourth and final playoff spot.

"In both those games, I don't think the score was completely indicative of the way we played," Hamley said. "We were only down 5-3 at halftime in San Jose and only down by a goal going into the fourth quarter against Toronto. For whatever reason, we had a bad fourth quarter in that game and they were able to pull away."

Following their defeat in Toronto, the Rush had a week off, allowing them to regroup for Sunday's contest. After their game against the Mammoth, they'll host the Philadelphia Wings and Calgary Roughnecks in consecutive weeks.

"It's been very frustrating for us from a scheduling stand point," Hamley said. "We had four games in eight days and now we have four games in six weeks. But it is what it is and that's life in the NLL. We have to regroup and be a lot better."

In the Mammoth the Rush are facing a team they've already beaten once this season, 11-9 in Denver.

Colorado will also be playing the second game of a back-to-back in Edmonton, having played in San Jose the night before.

"I don't know, I think they should do a study in the league on the records of teams in the second game of a back-to-back," Hamley said.

"I think it's almost helpful. It seems like in past years, teams are better in the second game having played in a back-to-back."

After getting off to a slow start this season, the Mammoth are back to their familiar perch in the West Division standings, battling for top spot.

Colorado has won their last three games heading into the weekend after getting off to a 1-3 start.

In their loss to the Rush the Mammoth were down by five goals at one point in the third quarter before battling back to make a game of it late in the contest.

"They were struggling to score goals, but they came into Colorado and got some timely goals and handled us pretty easily," said Mammoth head coach Bob McMahon. "I know our guys are anxious to get back and have another shot at them."

NOTES: The Rush will have a pair of representatives at the NLL all-star game March 7, in Colorado. Forward Dan Teat was voted to the West Division starting lineup last week, while defenceman Ian Hawksbee was named to the team yesterday. Teat leads the Rush with 33 points this season ... The Rush's game, on the road, against the San Jose Stealth on April 10 has been rescheduled for March 21 (7:30 p.m.) to accommodate an arena conflict at the HP Pavilion.

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


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