Rush fall to the Swarm

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:06 AM ET

EDMONTON - It was billed as the league’s best penalty-killing team against the top power-play unit in the NLL.

While the Minnesota Swarm upheld their end of the bargain — going three-for-four with the man-advantage — the Edmonton Rush fell to 0-3 on the season.

“That will happen, I thought we were OK on the penalty kill. They’ve got some skilled guys,” said Rush head coach Derek Keenan, whose squad was two-for-six on the power play. “What was good about their penalty killing tonight? Goaltending and goal posts.

“I’m not concerned. That wasn’t why we lost the game. We only scored eight goals.”

For the third time in a row, the Rush ran into a red-hot goalie, losing 9-8 at the Xcel Energy Centre on Saturday to close out an unsuccessful road trip.

“It was really heartbreaking becasue I thought we outplayed them in every facet,” said Keenan. “Once again, I lost count of how many goalposts and crossbars we had. It was definitely over 10.”

Of the other 54 shots that counted, Swarm goalie Nick Patterson stopped 46 of them.

“Patterson made some great saves and we just can’t seem to catch a break,” Keenan said. “But at the same time we made mistakes again, and in a one-goal game you’ve really got to limit them.”

After scoring his first goal of the season on a breakaway in the first half, Rush captain Brodie Merrill scored to open both the third and fourth quarters to finish the night with a game-high three goals and two assists.

“He put up numbers (Saturday) night on the scoreboard but he’s played the same game he’s always played for the three games,” Keenan said. “It’s just the ball started going in the net for him. That’s the difference.

“He’s still a beast on defence, he’s a beast when the ball’s on the floor.”

The Rush took their first lead of the season into the second half, leading 5-4 on a goal by Ryan Ward that trickled across the goal line.

But the Swarm rallied to score two goals in 23 seconds to tie the game 7-7 with just over 11 minutes left in regulation.

Two minutes later, Swarm rookie Tyler Hass regained the lead on a breakaway from a Rush giveaway to score his first NLL goal and them move ahead 8-7.

Disher held the fort when another bad giveaway gave Swarm transition player Andrew Watt his second breakaway of the game, but he couldn’t score a second time.

Merrill found Gavin Prout on the power play to tie the score 8-8, before the Swarm did the same on the man-advantage with Aaron Wilson’s second goal of the game with under two minutes left.

Patterson took a bullet from Prout off his mask to close out the game.

“I thought we controlled the tempo of the game for 60 minutes, but at the end of the day we didn’t score enough goals,” said Keenan, who counted seven against both the Toronto Rock and Boston Blazers. “At least we got off the (un)lucky seven number.”

SIZE-WISE: The Rush debut of new defender David Morgan, who stands six-foot-10 and weighs 260 pounds, came against the Swarm, who employ his brother, Richard Morgan, who is just a couple inches shorter and weighs the same.

Although they give up eight inches and 70 pounds each to the Morgans, another pair of brothers went head-to-head Saturday, with Rush forward Bill Greer taking on younger brother Zack.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/Gerry_EdmSun


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