Rush off to Calgary

Gerry Moddejonge, EQMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:44 AM ET

EDMONTON - The Edmonton Rush will have to go through Calgary if they wish to win the National Lacrosse League championship.

After the Calgary Roughnecks (10-6) squeaked out a 11-10 win over the Colorado Mammoth Friday night, they clinched second place in the West Division, bumping the Rush (10-6) to third because Calgary holds a 2-1 advantage in the season series.

“The disappointing part is we had our opportunity,” said Rush head coach Derek Keenan. “Really, it was within our hands. We shouldn’t have been sitting here tonight having to get help.

“Aside from the loss to Calgary last weekend, we lost to Colorado two weeks ago and that was really the key game because we were a little flat that night and we needed to win it. But it’s done now.”

It’s a long fall from the top.

The Edmonton Rush were among three teams in the running for the top overall seed in the National Lacrosse League heading into the final weekend of regular season action.

But that spot is now reserved for either the Washington Stealth or the Orlando Titans.

So, the Rush will get ready for a game in Calgary next weekend.

“We’re comfortable playing anywhere, we finished 5-3 at home and 5-3 on the road,” said Keenan, who wasn’t about to let himself be driven insane by what could have been.

“Now we just go play Calgary, we’re very familiar with them as they are with us.

“We played them last week so there’s no secrets. It’s just going to come down to execution and basically who wants it more.”

The Rush have taken too many steps this season — after finishing in the basement last year — to let everything hinge on a game that’s out of their hands. Home playoff shot or not.

“We never had a goal of having a home game,” Keenan said. “Our goal was to make the playoffs and to win a championship.

“You never know, strange things could happen and we could still get a home game, you never know. We’ll see what happens.”

That could happen if fourth place Minnesota knocks off top-seeded Washington in the first round and the Rush win.

But the setting doesn’t necessarily change the plotline.

“Whatever happens, I think that’s kind of the mindset with our guys and myself anyway,” said Rush forward Ryan Powell. “We know we have to win three more games to achieve our ultimate goal. Our goal is to win the championship this year.

“Wherever our journey takes us, we’re going to be prepared and ready to play. So if we’ve got to go to Calgary and play, we’ll be prepared to do that.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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