February 27, 2011
Rush fall to Knighthawks
By GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - Good things come in threes, but it was all bad for the Edmonton Rush on Saturday night.
The Rush suffered their first loss at the hands of the Rochester Knighthawks in just their third meeting in the teams’ histories.
While the Rush won the previous two heading into the 2011 season, they struck out on their third attempt, losing 13-9 in the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y.
“That’s the kind of team where if you can play them straight up and limit errors, you’re going to win a lot of games against them,” said Rush head coach Derek Keenan. “That’s what really bothers me, we knew exactly what type of team they were.”
The loss drops the Rush to 2-7 on the season as they began the second half of the 2011 schedule with the trade deadline fast approaching.
“If there’s an opportunity to get better, we’re going to do it,” Keenan said. “I’ve already talked to several teams about opportunities to get better.”
After jumping to a 3-0 lead, the Rush were on their heels the rest of the way, giving up the next three goals before all-star defenceman Brett Mydske got them back out front, 4-3, on a breakaway off a draw won by fellow all-star nominee Brodie Merrill to end the first quarter.
But after allowing a pair of short-handed goals, as well as a tally by 2011 first-overall draft pick Cody Jamieson — his 14th of the season — the Rush soon found themselves down 7-4.
“Those short-handed goals are killers,” Keenan said. “We’ve had our share this year as well, but we’ve given up too many.
“I’ll say it again, it’s almost every game, our power play wasn’t good enough. We had one (in five attempts), and we need to be way better than that.”
Craig Point scored after taking a long-bomb from Rochester goalie Matt Vinc to end the half ahead 9-6.
But Knighthawks assistant captain Mike Accursi picked up right where they left off, opening the second half by taking a turnover from Rush goalie Matt Disher and putting it through the five-hole.
After scoring just 11 goals in two games on their way to getting swept by the league-leading Toronto Rock, Accursi scored the only other goal of the quarter to take an 11-6 lead into the final frame.
The Rush return home Saturday to face the Washington Stealth.
“We’ve got five home games left and we’ve got to be way better at home than we have been, from intensity level and compete level,” Keenan said. “Five of our last seven, every one of them are division games, so it’s not like we have to hope for help from somebody.
“We control completely where we’re going to go with this thing next year.”
EVEN EVANS: Making his return to Rochester for the first time since being traded for defender Rory Glaves in January, Rush forward Scott Evans finished the night with four goals and five points.
“He played very well,” Keenan said.
But that performance was matched by his younger brother Shawn, who scored five points with three goals for the Knighthawks.
ALL-STAR STAY: Keenan, Mydske and Rush captain Brodie Merrill will remain in New York state to play in the 2011 NLL All-Star Game Sunday, held at the Oneida Indian Nation in Verona (noon, Versus).