Rush roll over Calgary

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:13 AM ET

It's why they wear pads.

The Edmonton Rush and Calgary Roughnecks collided, as advertised, in the inaugural Battle of Alberta of the National Lacrosse League season.

Sticks hit bodies and bodies hit the floor at Rexall Place Saturday night as the Rush improved to 3-1 on the season by beating Calgary 14-11.

"There is a rivalry here, so it's going to be rough," said Rush goalie Matt Disher.

"I think the game sometimes got out of control a little bit."

Heading into the half tied 7-7, the Rush scored seven goals on the only 13 shots they could muster over the last two quarters, while Calgary outshot Edmonton by 20 in the second half, only to come away with four goals.

"They're a heck of a good team. Every time they get the ball they're dangerous," said Rush head coach Derek Keenan. "I think we also got really timely goals."

The Rush broke out to an early 4-1 lead after rookie Brett Mydske scored his first NLL goal as towering defencemen Ian Crashley and Bruce Alexander got physical early and often with Calgary's offence.

The Roughnecks were down, but hardly out after a change in goaltenders from Matt King to Chris Levis inspired two quick goals that set up the tying score just 15 seconds into an Alexander penalty, as Tracey Kelusky snaked in a behind-the-head goal.

Calgary took a 5-4 lead compliments of Kaleb Toth, who was met with a cross-check from behind by Crashley.

The two dropped their gloves and wrestled each other to the ground before Crashley was ejected from the match and the Roughnecks went on a five-minute power play.

But things didn't quite go according to plan as the Rush snuck in a pair of short-handed scores by Gavin Prout and Ryan Ward to grab a 6-5 lead.

"I haven't seen that very often, where you're plus-two on a man-down situation," Keenan said.

"That was one of the key points of the game. I thought overall, our transition game was really good."

The shorties didn't stop Calgary forward Scott Ranger from doing his best non-lightning impression, striking twice in rapid succession to reclaim the lead for his side.

Making sure the first half solved nothing, Rush forward Andy Secore knotted things up at 7-7, then gave the Rush the lead five minutes into the second half.

The lead changed hands twice more before Rush rookie Scott Tinning scored his first NLL goal to head into the final frame ahead 10-8.

King returned between the Roughneck pipes after a Prout goal put the Rush ahead 12-10 three minutes into the fourth quarter.

Shots were 56-34 in favour of Calgary in front of an announced attendance of 7,815.

HAIR-DON'TS: A handful of Rush players, including captain Chris McElroy, chopped their pink-dyed hair-do's following Saturday's tilt for the St. Valentine's Hair Massacure in support of children with cancer.

POWELL-LESS: Edmonton's sole American-born player, forward Ryan Powell, missed the game because he was was in Florida for a field lacrosse event with Team USA in preparation for the 2010 World Championships.

GERRY.MODDEJONGE@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos