The Edmonton Rush earned their 10th-straight win to start the season, extending the NLL record, with a convincing 15-7 road victory over the Calgary Roughnecks (6-5) before 10,691 fans at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday night.
The Roughnecks opened the scoring in the first quarter when Curtis ‘Superman’ Dickson scored his 23rd of the season, 50 seconds into the game. Zack Greer for the Rush wasn’t fazed as he potted two of his three goals in the first to put the Rush into the lead after one.
"Every time you get behind on a team like that, you’re fighting for every inch, and you just can’t fall back," said Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky. "It just snowballs, a team like that steps on you. They step on your throat. They do the little things, they don’t get rattled if something doesn’t go their way, they just keep moving forward.
"They don’t look over their shoulder if they have a bad play. Sometimes we look over our shoulder and a bad play turns into two bad plays, so we have to better with ourselves going forward.”
The second quarter began and the Necks probably hoped it hadn’t. Edmonton started the second with four unanswered goals.
“When you get down early like that, it’s tough to come back,” said Dickson. “Especially against a good team like Edmonton, we started taking a couple penalties and it took us out of the game.”
Mike Poulin got the yank after allowing eight goals on 31 shots, and back-up Frankie Scigliano took over for the rest of the game. The Riggers went into halftime trailing 9-3 and being outshot 34-19.
Malawsky didn’t hide any of his feelings from tonight’s performance.
“They’re better than we are right now, simple as that," he said. "They’re at a different level than we are, and it shows. They’ve set the bar for the whole league.”
The third and fourth quarter was much of the same story. The Roughnecks couldn’t break into the middle of the offensive zone for any good scoring chances and the Rush continued to keep their foot on the gas outscoring the Necks’ 6-4 in the second half.
“Our transition was awful, they had a lot of transition goals and we hung our goaltenders out to dry," Dickson said. "They’re the best team in the league and we came out flat both times we played against them.”
The Rush continue to find ways to win during their unprecedented start to the season.
“Our defensive end were really focused, I thought we did a pretty good job at taking away passing lanes and getting some good pressure on the ball,” said Rush general manager and head coach Derek Keenan. “We scored nine transition goals, which you don’t typically do against this team. Sometimes, it’s a bounce here and there and we got a few of those tonight and our guys also ran the floor hard.”
The Rush will have their hands full next week as the East Division-leading Buffalo Bandits pay a visit to Rexall Place on Friday, March 21 for a
The Roughnecks will next travel to Vancouver to take on the last-place Stealth on Friday as well at 10 p.m. ET.
“We gotta have a good game plan going into Vancouver; the guys gotta buy in and follow it," Malawsky said. "I've got a lot of confidence in this group and you gotta move on."
Edmonton outshot Calgary, 62-34. The 34 shots on goal by the Roughnecks were the fewest by the team since February 22, 2008.
Three Stars of the Game as selected by the media:
1) Zack Greer
2) Mark Matthews
3) Curtis Dickson