Special teams crucial for Rush

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:36 PM ET

SEATTLE — A week ago, they won the special teams battle.

That coincided with a playoff victory, which set up Saturday’s matchup against the Washington Stealth.

In order to win again, the Edmonton Rush will probably need to be better with the man advantage than their opponent.

It won’t be an easy task with the Stealth owning the best power play in the West Division this year, scoring on over 51% of their opportunities.

“First off, we have to try and play disciplined lacrosse and stay out of the box,” said Rush defenceman Ian Hawksbee. “Saying that, it’s almost impossible to play an entire game without getting a penalty. So when we do, we have to just try to stick out our game plan and hope it works out for us.”

The Stealth scored a pair of power-play goals on four opportunities last week in their 14-10 victory over the Minnesota Swarm. Stealth forward Lewis Ratcliff led the league this year with 13 power-play goals.

“I don’t have any problem, for the most part, with the way the game has been officiated this year, so I know we’re probably going to get some penalties,” said Rush head coach and general manager Derek Keenan. “We expect to have to kill a few and if we get some power-play chances, we’re going to have to execute.

“I thought last week against Calgary it was a key stat. We were 3-for-3, they were 0-for-4. Even though there weren’t a ton of penalties, at the end of the day in a four-goal game, that was a huge swing.”

Andy Secore, Ryan Ward and Gavin Prout all connected with the man advantage last week against the Calgary Roughnecks. Secore led the team in power-play goals this season with seven. Ward had five.

“From an offensive standpoint, we have so much talent and we have a nice fit with all five guys on our power play unit that can all score,” said Ward. “I think we’re all threats and when we get the ball, we’re thinking shot and if it’s there, we take it. That opens up lanes, because they react to it if we’re thinking shot.

“It’s a shoot first mentality and if it doesn’t go in right away, we have to keep plugging at it.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos