April 8, 2011
Game a must-win for Rush
By GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency
The Edmonton Rush will find out just what type of team they are when the rubber hits the road.
Their path leads to a rubber match against the Colorado Mammoth at Rexall Place on Saturday, after splitting the first two meetings of a three-game series.
“Obviously going into a weekend like that, you take one at a time and get the first one and you hope for the sweep. But they were really two hard-fought games, very well-played defensively,” said Rush head coach and GM Derek Keenan. “We were happy with that and now we’ve got an opportunity moving forward here to hopefully get in (the playoffs).”
The only two teams left in the West Division without a playoff berth, the Rush and Mammoth are vying for ownership of the season series, which would determine the victor in case of any potential tie-breaking scenarios.
“It’s going to be a great night. Edmonton put it to us pretty good there (last) Friday night in Edmonton and we want to avenge that a little bit and look forward to the challenge,” said Mammoth head coach Bob Hamley.
Despite being relegated to the bottom of the West Division all year long, both teams still have a chance to control their own post-season fate on Saturday.
“The way it works is we really kind of control our destiny and if we get a win on Saturday it goes a long way for us,” Keenan said. “We need to compete and play well, like we really have the last month.”
Last Saturday’s 7-6 loss in Colorado marked a change in a trend where the Rush offence put up 14 goals in each of their previous three games.
“(Last) Saturday night aside, if you look at our scoring numbers prior to that they’ve been pretty strong — 14 a night, which you should win on most nights,” Keenan said. “Obviously, you’re not going to win many scoring six.
“I think just overall, the guys are starting to buy into our principles. We tend to not be consistent at times, though, and we need to strive for that, to be consistent with how we play up front.”
After an 0-5 January, 2-2 February and 1-2 March, the Rush are looking to be 2-1 by the time this weekend is over as they prepare for their final regular-season tilt against the Toronto Rock on April 16.
Whether there will be anything left to do after that remains to be seen, but the Rush are determined to extend their schedule into the post-season.
“You never want to get too high or too low,” Keenan said. “We want to try and stay on an even keel and stay positive at all times, no matter what happens to us here down the stretch.”