Rush lose heartbreaker

Calgary’s Tracey Kelusky celebrates an overtime win over the Edmonton Rush as Matt Disher kneels...

Calgary’s Tracey Kelusky celebrates an overtime win over the Edmonton Rush as Matt Disher kneels dejected on the turf at Rexall Place Friday night. (JORDAN VERLAGE/Edmonton Sun)

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:04 AM ET

EDMONTON - It was the National Lacrosse League’s vergion of monkey see, monkey do Friday night at Rexall Place as the Calgary Roughnecks defeated the Edmonton Rush 15-14 in a back-and-forth overtime affair that featured nine ties.

But more importantly, the win gives the Roughnecks a 2-1 season-series advantage over the Rush in case of any tie-breaker possibilities. For the Rush to play at home in the post-season, they will have to beat the Washington Stealth Saturday night and hope for some help.

The Roughnecks put the only blemish on the Rush’s 3-1 overtime record this season as league-scoring leader Josh Sanderson scored on Calgary’s first shot of sudden death, less than a minute into the extra end.

“I went over the top and threw a bit of a twister and he lifted his stick and it went in,” Sanderson said. “I’ll take it. It felt good. I didn’t play very good tonight, so it was nice to see that go in. It was a big game. We’re big rivals.”

Rush fans gave the home side a standing ovation on their way out.

“I think it was a very even game and it probably deserved to go to overtime,” said Rush head coach Derek Keenan. “They got a break there in OT and got the winner. We’ve been fortunate this year, we’ve won three overtime games, so the odds were that we were going to lose one eventually.

“We’re just thankful it’s not in the playoffs.”

Edmonton carried an 11-10 advantage into the final frame, but an early turnover in their own zone resulted in the tying goal scored by Roughnecks forward Tracey Kelusky.

“They seemed to answer every time we’d get up on them,” said Rush assistant captain Brodie Merrill.

Less than minute later, Rush forward Gavin Prout out-lateralled the Calgary defence to regain the lead. Brett Mydske found a streaking Merrill with a long pass for a fast-break goal with less than 10 minutes to go.

The Roughnecks climbed back within one on a top-shelf rocket by Kaleb Toth, and tied it 13-13 on a Josh Sanderson shot.

Seconds later, Merrill struck again with his hat-trick goal to regain the lead, only to see Scott Carnegie tie t 14-14 with less than three minutes remaining in regulation.

The Roughnecks struck on the power play to open the second quarter, with Sanderson doing what he does best just 18 seconds in. It was the first of 12 goals in the see-saw quarter that again decided nothing, as the half closed out in an 8-8 tie.

Calgary took a 4-2 lead compliments of the ol’ hidden ball routine, with Dane Dobbie catching Rush goalie Matt Disher looking the wrong way on his way to a hat-trick.

Things got physical as Prout put every inch of his five-foot-10 frame into a high-chest hit on Roughnecks defenceman Andrew McBride in the second quarter.

Taking offence, Roughnecks defender Mike Kilby roughed things up with a high stick and received a five-minute major for his trouble.

“It always seems to be physical with them,” Merrill said. “They play a fast, aggressive style, especially on defence. We’re certainly not going to shy away from that, but there was a lot of hard hits.

“Both teams kind of feel that rivalry and there’s no love lost there, that’s for sure.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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