Saskatchewan Rush (3-0) vs. Colorado Mammoth (3-0)
8:00pm (CST), January 13th, 2018
Pepsi Center, Denver CO
Listen: 98 COOL
Just three games into the season and the Saskatchewan Rush are heading into a showdown for first place in the NLL’s West Division against the rival Colorado Mammoth.
Both teams enter the clash as the only undefeated clubs in the league. The Rush stayed unbeaten with their convincing 13-9 victory over the defending champion Georgia Swarm while the Mammoth kept unblemished record intact with an 11-7 decision over the Calgary Roughnecks.
The Rush have won nine of the last 10 regular-season games against Colorado, including three of the last five in Denver. This is the first of three meetings between the Rush and Mammoth this season. They will tangle again in Colorado on February 2nd before their final meeting on April 7th in Saskatoon.
This is also the first meeting between the teams since the Rush eliminated the Mammoth in the 2017 West Division Final. Saskatchewan opened up a 1-0 lead in the series when they blasted the Mammoth 18-9 in Denver behind a second-half offensive explosion that saw the Rush score 14 goals including nine in the fourth quarter. Saskatchewan’s dominant second-half against the Mammoth set franchise single-game playoff records for total goals, goals in one half, and goals in one quarter.
Adam Jones scored six goals for Saskatchewan against his former team with former Denver University star Mark Matthews also finishing the game with nine points including two goals. Ben McIntosh, with four goals, Robert Church, with a pair, and singles from Ryan Keenan, Mike Messenger, Tor Reinholdt, and Curtis Knight accounted for the rest of the Rush scoring.
Saskatchewan completed the two-game sweep of Colorado by winning Game 2 in Saskatoon 11-10. Mike Messenger evened the game at 10 with 1:27 to go and Ryan Keenan notched the game-winner with 45 seconds left in regulation. Mark Matthews, Ben McIntosh, and Robert Church each scored twice for the Rush with Adam Jones and Marty Dinsdale adding one each.
The Rush and Mammoth met four times during the 2017 regular season with Saskatchewan winning three of the games, including both at home with one coming in overtime. Saskatchewan’s final weekend of the regular season featured a 10-9 victory in Colorado as Ben McIntosh notched a hat trick and Ryan Keenan racked up five points (1 goal, 4 assists). Curtis Knight, Marty Dinsdale, and Mark Matthews each scored twice in the win.
Prior to that game, the Mammoth won their only meeting of the season against the Rush, coming out on top 14-10 behind a seven-point effort from Jeremy Noble (4 goals, 3 assists). Robert Church had a hat trick for the Rush with Marty Dinsdale, Mark Matthews, and Ben McIntosh scoring twice, and Adam Jones and Adrian Sorichetti adding one each.
Despite a pair of outstanding goaltending performance by Mammoth netminder Dillon Ward, the Rush won the first two games against Colorado this season. Ward totaled 51 saves but Ben McIntosh’s fourth goal of the game came 1:25 into overtime to lift Saskatchewan to a 12-11 victory. Mark Matthews with three goals and three assists and Robert Church’s two goals and three assists helped pace the Rush attack. Brett Mydske, Marty Dinsdale and John Lafontaine each scored once for the Rush. Back in mid-February, the Rush eked out an 8-7 win as they dodged by the Mammoth, who got 56 saves from Ward. Ben McIntosh scored twice for Saskatchewan with Curtis Knight, Jeff Cornwall, Chris Corbeil, Ryan Keenan, Mark Matthews, and Adrian Sorichetti adding a goal apiece for the Rush.
The Rush captured their first home-turf victory in Saskatoon by beating the Mammoth 12-10 last January. Mark Matthews scored the last of his four goals to tie the game 10-10, and Robert Church potted the game-winner with Chris Corbeil adding a shorthanded tally to put the game away late in the fourth. Zack Greer picked up three goals and two assists for Saskatchewan which also got single markers Jarrett Davis, Adrian Sorichetti, and Ben McIntosh.
Last Saturday in Georgia, the Rush scored six times in the third quarter to pull away from the Swarm with the final four goals coming in a span of 3:33 – the last of which was a shorthanded tally by Jeff Cornwall. Both Jeff Shattler and Robert Church notched hat tricks in the win with singles going to Mark Matthews, Marty Dinsdale, Jeremy Thompson, Matt Hossack, and Brett Mydske. Goaltender Evan Kirk turned in a standout performance for the Rush as he totaled 41 saves.