SASKATCHEWAN'S LARGEST INDEPENDENTLY-OWNED COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
Home



 



NLL championship final set for weekend

The Saskatchewan Rush have one more opportunity to clinch the National Lacrosse League (NLL) championship.
Game 3 of the NLL final series between the Rush and the Rochester Knighthawks is set for Saturday, June 9 at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon. Tickets are now on sale.
After winning Game 1 of the series 16-9 at home on May 26, the Rush dropped a 13-8 decision in Rochester on Saturday, June 2, setting up the third and deciding contest this weekend.
The Knighthawks’ stellar goaltending performance in Game 2 by Matt Vinc, proved to be the difference. Vinc finished with 47 saves and the Knighthawks used a four-goal run in the second quarter to catapult them to a 13-8 victory over the Saskatchewan Rush in Game 2 of the best-of-three final on Saturday night.
Now it all comes down to one final match.
“It’s one game. We’re going to be comfortable and we’re going to be prepared,” said Rush GM/head coach Derek Keenan.
In Game 2, the Rush jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead and then tied the game up 3-3 with three seconds left in the first quarter on Ryan Keenan’s bullet from the slot. But from that point on, the Rush offence was quieted by their own miscues and Vinc’s massive effort. Meanwhile, Rochester’s offence came alive in the second quarter with four straight goals, led off by a shorthanded marker from Austin Shanks. Ben McIntosh’s goal ended the K-Hawks’ surge, but the home squad got that goal right back as Cory Vitarelli connected just after a Rochester power play concluded to make it 8-4 at halftime.
Josh Currier, who opened the Rochester scoring, added a pair during the four-goal run for the Knighthawks and would go on to earn his fourth of the game in the final stanza.
Saskatchewan got a jump on the second half as Jeff Shattler put a quick-stick strike behind Vinc after a perfect cross-slot pass from McIntosh. But any momentum the Rush might have gathered up disappeared quickly as the Knighthawks counted a pair of goals two minutes apart to build a five-goal cushion and effectively gain full control of the game.
Cody Jamieson made it 9-5 for Rochester when he fired a long shot behind Rush goalie Evan Kirk just seconds after Vinc had made a strong save on a shot from Keenan. The Rush then gave up the ball on offence as Graeme Hossack forced a turnover and he scooted the length of the floor before putting a well-placed bounce shot behind Kirk.
Vinc stood tall to cement the Knighthawks’ lead late in the third quarter. The five-time NLL Goaltender of the Year turned aside a breakaway chance by Mark Matthews as he got his arm on a hot shot from deep in the slot. Moments later, Vinc was in the right spot to block a shorthanded chance on a behind-the-back attempt from Rush defenceman Ryan Dilks.
The Rush were able to close the gap slightly on a power-play goal from Keenan in the fourth, but the Knighthawks got that back just 35 seconds later on a shot by Kyle Jackson.
Shattler sparked the Saskatchewan offence with a seven-point showing (3 goals, 4 assists) while Keenan finished with two goals. Also scoring for the Rush were Robert Church and Dan Dawson with Matthews collecting four assists. Kirk totaled 39 saves in the Rush net.

Navigation