February 13, 2010
Rock roll over Rush
By TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency
TORONTO -- For approximately 15 minutes on Friday night, the Edmonton Rush huddled behind closed doors at the Air Canada Centre, trying to figure out how to snap out of an early season funk.
After a three-game winning streak, the Rush lost its second National Lacrosse League game in a row, falling 16-7 to the Toronto Rock. Later, there was not so much yelling as there was soul-searching.
"We've had two bad games in a row and we're wavering a little bit," said forward Gavin Prout, one of three Rush players to score two goals. "It was not just the score, it was the way we lost. There were a lot of guys who had their heads down after shifts and did not seem to be in the game. I think we're lacking an identity on offence right now."
The Rush fell to 3-3 and don't play again until Feb. 21, when it entertains the Rock at Rexall Place. By then, the players and coaching staff pray that whatever ails them is gone.
Edmonton scored the first goal in each of the first three quarters against Toronto, but other than carrying some momentum in the second quarter, failed to mount much of an attack.
It didn't help that bad defence -- the Rush changed goaltenders twice, with Matt Disher starting and finishing to sandwich an appearance by his partner, Brandon Atherton -- and bad penalties conspired to kill the Rush's hopes of winning.
Too many times, Rock forwards were allowed to walk in untouched for excellent scoring opportunities.
"That's hard on our goalies, and they don't deserve that," Prout said. "It really sucks that we can't get back on the floor again immediately and whip that taste out of our mouths. That will drive us when we play them again."
Scott Stewart and Andy Secore both had a pair of goals, while Brodie Merrill added one.
Sherwood Park native Blaine Manning had his best game of the season for the Rock, scoring five goals and adding five assists.
"I'm looking forward to playing at home (next Sunday)," Manning said. "I watched the Oilers a lot when I was growing up, so it's pretty cool to go back there and see all the Stanley Cup banners."
The challenge for Rush coach Derek Keenan will be devising ways to stop a Rock offence that has propelled the club to a 6-1 start, its best in franchise history.
"We made too many errors that ended up in our net," Keenan said. "We stopped playing, and against those guys you can't do that."