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WK
1
Fri, Dec 2
FINAL
Philadelphia
8
Halifax
18
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
Vancouver
8
Toronto
19
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
San Diego
15
New York
14
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
Albany
11
Buffalo
10
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
Rochester
16
Georgia
11
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
Colorado
6
Saskatchewan
18
WK
2
Fri, Dec 9
20:30:00
Las Vegas
Panther City
Fri, Dec 9
22:00:00
Saskatchewan
San Diego
Sat, Dec 10
19:00:00
Toronto
Rochester
Sat, Dec 10
21:30:00
Vancouver
Calgary
WK
3
Fri, Dec 16
22:00:00
Calgary
Vancouver
Fri, Dec 16
22:30:00
Panther City
Las Vegas
Sat, Dec 17
19:00:00
Buffalo
Toronto
Sat, Dec 17
19:00:00
Rochester
Albany
Sat, Dec 17
19:00:00
Philadelphia
Georgia
Sat, Dec 17
19:30:00
Halifax
New York
Sat, Dec 17
20:00:00
Colorado
Panther City
WK
5
Fri, Dec 30
19:30:00
Halifax
Buffalo
Fri, Dec 30
21:00:00
San Diego
Calgary
Sat, Dec 31
21:00:00
Panther City
Saskatchewan
WK
6
Fri, Jan 6
22:30:00
Philadelphia
Las Vegas
Sat, Jan 7
19:00:00
Panther City
Rochester
Sat, Jan 7
19:00:00
Halifax
Albany
Sat, Jan 7
19:00:00
Buffalo
Georgia
Sat, Jan 7
19:30:00
Toronto
New York
Sat, Jan 7
22:00:00
Vancouver
San Diego
Sun, Jan 8
0:00:00
Calgary
Colorado
WK
7
Fri, Jan 13
18:30:00
Albany
Halifax
Fri, Jan 13
21:00:00
Saskatchewan
Colorado
Sat, Jan 14
19:00:00
Halifax
Toronto
Sat, Jan 14
19:00:00
Panther City
Philadelphia
Sat, Jan 14
19:30:00
Georgia
Buffalo
Sat, Jan 14
21:00:00
San Diego
Calgary
Sat, Jan 14
22:00:00
Las Vegas
Vancouver
Sun, Jan 15
15:00:00
Rochester
New York
WK
8
Fri, Jan 20
19:30:00
Buffalo
Rochester
Fri, Jan 20
22:30:00
Vancouver
Las Vegas
Sat, Jan 21
19:00:00
New York
Albany
Sat, Jan 21
19:00:00
Toronto
Philadelphia
WK
9
Fri, Jan 27
18:00:00
Rochester
Halifax
Fri, Jan 27
19:00:00
Buffalo
Philadelphia
Sat, Jan 28
19:30:00
Buffalo
New York
Sat, Jan 28
20:30:00
Las Vegas
Saskatchewan
Sat, Jan 28
21:00:00
Toronto
Calgary
Sat, Jan 28
21:00:00
San Diego
Colorado
Sat, Jan 28
22:00:00
Panther City
Vancouver
WK
10
Fri, Feb 3
21:00:00
Georgia
Colorado
Sat, Feb 4
18:00:00
Calgary
Halifax
Sat, Feb 4
19:00:00
New York
Toronto
Sat, Feb 4
19:00:00
Albany
Philadelphia
Sat, Feb 4
19:30:00
Rochester
Buffalo
Sat, Feb 4
22:00:00
Panther City
San Diego
Sat, Feb 4
22:00:00
Saskatchewan
Vancouver
Sat, Feb 4
22:30:00
Colorado
Las Vegas
WK
11
Fri, Feb 10
19:30:00
Toronto
Georgia
Fri, Feb 10
21:00:00
Saskatchewan
Calgary
Sat, Feb 11
19:00:00
Halifax
Rochester
Sat, Feb 11
19:30:00
Albany
New York
Sat, Feb 11
20:00:00
Vancouver
Panther City
Sat, Feb 11
21:00:00
Colorado
Calgary
WK
12
Fri, Feb 17
22:00:00
Saskatchewan
San Diego
Fri, Feb 17
22:00:00
Calgary
Vancouver
Sat, Feb 18
19:00:00
Georgia
Toronto
Sat, Feb 18
19:00:00
Las Vegas
Albany
Sat, Feb 18
19:30:00
Philadelphia
Buffalo
Sat, Feb 18
20:00:00
Colorado
Panther City
Sun, Feb 19
13:00:00
New York
Halifax
WK
13
Fri, Feb 24
21:00:00
Panther City
Colorado
Fri, Feb 24
22:30:00
Calgary
Las Vegas
Sat, Feb 25
19:00:00
New York
Rochester
Sat, Feb 25
19:00:00
Albany
Georgia
Sat, Feb 25
20:00:00
Vancouver
Saskatchewan
WK
14
Fri, Mar 3
18:30:00
Buffalo
Halifax
Fri, Mar 3
21:00:00
Las Vegas
San Diego
Sat, Mar 4
11:30:00
New York
Philadelphia
Sat, Mar 4
19:00:00
Rochester
Toronto
Sat, Mar 4
19:00:00
Georgia
Albany
Sat, Mar 4
20:00:00
Saskatchewan
Panther City
Mon, Mar 6
19:00:00
Toronto
Philadelphia
WK
15
Fri, Mar 10
19:30:00
Halifax
Buffalo
Fri, Mar 10
21:00:00
Calgary
Colorado
Sat, Mar 11
19:00:00
Albany
Toronto
Sat, Mar 11
19:30:00
Philadelphia
New York
Sat, Mar 11
20:30:00
San Diego
Saskatchewan
Sat, Mar 11
22:30:00
Vancouver
Las Vegas
Sun, Mar 12
16:00:00
Rochester
Georgia
WK
16
Fri, Mar 17
21:00:00
Saskatchewan
Calgary
Fri, Mar 17
22:00:00
San Diego
Vancouver
Sat, Mar 18
11:00:00
Georgia
Philadelphia
Sat, Mar 18
18:00:00
Toronto
Halifax
Sat, Mar 18
19:30:00
Albany
New York
Sat, Mar 18
19:30:00
Colorado
Buffalo
Sat, Mar 18
20:00:00
Las Vegas
Panther City
Sun, Mar 19
15:00:00
Philadelphia
Rochester
WK
17
Fri, Mar 24
20:30:00
San Diego
Panther City
Sat, Mar 25
19:00:00
Toronto
Albany
Sat, Mar 25
19:00:00
Halifax
Philadelphia
Sat, Mar 25
19:30:00
Georgia
New York
Sat, Mar 25
21:30:00
Calgary
Saskatchewan
Sat, Mar 25
22:00:00
Buffalo
San Diego
Sat, Mar 25
22:00:00
Colorado
Vancouver
Sat, Mar 25
22:30:00
Rochester
Las Vegas
WK
18
Fri, Mar 31
20:00:00
New York
Georgia
Fri, Mar 31
21:00:00
Las Vegas
Colorado
Fri, Mar 31
22:00:00
Calgary
San Diego
Sat, Apr 1
19:00:00
Buffalo
Toronto
Sat, Apr 1
20:00:00
Albany
Panther City
Sat, Apr 1
21:30:00
Vancouver
Saskatchewan
Sun, Apr 2
13:00:00
Georgia
Halifax
Sun, Apr 2
18:00:00
Rochester
Philadelphia
WK
19
Sat, Apr 8
19:00:00
Albany
Rochester
Sat, Apr 8
19:00:00
Saskatchewan
Georgia
Sat, Apr 8
21:00:00
Panther City
Calgary
Sat, Apr 8
21:00:00
Vancouver
Colorado
Sat, Apr 8
22:30:00
San Diego
Las Vegas
WK
20
Fri, Apr 14
21:00:00
Las Vegas
Calgary
Fri, Apr 14
21:00:00
San Diego
Colorado
Sat, Apr 15
19:00:00
Philadelphia
Toronto
Sat, Apr 15
19:00:00
Georgia
Albany
Sat, Apr 15
19:30:00
New York
Buffalo
Sat, Apr 15
21:30:00
Halifax
Saskatchewan
Sat, Apr 15
22:00:00
Panther City
Vancouver
WK
21
Fri, Apr 21
20:30:00
Calgary
Panther City
Sat, Apr 22
18:00:00
New York
Halifax
Sat, Apr 22
19:00:00
Georgia
Rochester
Sat, Apr 22
20:00:00
Toronto
Buffalo
Sat, Apr 22
21:30:00
Colorado
Saskatchewan
Sat, Apr 22
22:00:00
Las Vegas
San Diego
Sun, Apr 23
15:00:00
Philadelphia
Albany
WK
22
Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
Philadelphia
Rochester
Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
Buffalo
Albany
Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
Halifax
Georgia
Sat, Apr 29
22:00:00
Colorado
San Diego
Sat, Apr 29
22:00:00
New York
Vancouver
Sat, Apr 29
22:30:00
Saskatchewan
Las Vegas
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Stories/Op-Ed

Rush Defense Set On Stopping Buffalo’S Big Threat

The Saskatchewan Rush were built on defense, and ultimately, built into a champion.

For the last handful of seasons, the Rush have been able to boast about possessing the best defensive unit the National Lacrosse League. The group is headlined by four-time reigning NLL Defensive Player of the Year Kyle Rubisch, but it is the entire collection that makes them so daunting to overcome. What awaits them in the NLL Champion’s Cup Final is daunting in its own right.

The Rush face the Buffalo Bandits in the best-of-three league championship series which begins this Saturday night in Buffalo. If the Rush can keep a leash on Bandits scoring whiz Dhane Smith then they’ll deserve all the wings you can find in Buffalo.

Smith was simply amazing this season, setting a new record with 137 points including a whopping 72 goals. He’s off to an equally eye-popping start to the playoffs with nine goals and 16 points in just two games. The hulking 6-foot-3, 195-pounder is a load to contend with but the Rush have the right personnel to tame the beast.

“Dhane Smith is a special player. We must recognize where he is at all times he’s on the floor,” said Rush defenceman Brett Mydske, who called the Saskatchewan defensive corps a “confident group right now.”

“He’s the league-leading goal scorer but he’s also the quarterback of that offence. He has had a record-breaking year. We need to get out on him and not give him time and space to shoot or pass if we want to limit his production.”

The Rush didn’t do such a great job in holding back Smith when the two teams met in their only regular-season game back in February. Smith notched eight points (4 goals, 4 assists) and helped push his team to a 19-18 overtime victory in Saskatoon – a game that was simply a disaster for the defenses. The two teams’ star netminders – Saskatchewan’s Aaron Bold and Buffalo’s Anthony Cosmo – were both given the hook that night as well.  

“It was a very uncharacteristic game defensively for us at a time in the year we were having trouble finding consistency,” noted Rush defenseman Ryan Dilks, who stepped into the spotlight this season as the league-leader in forced turnovers.

“Since then I think we’ve realized how hard we have to work every game or even every shift to be successful.”

A lesson was learned and the Rush moved on from that game by winning their next six in a row. Saskatchewan would later sweep a weekend home-and-home series from Colorado to clinch first in the West Division, and then roll through the Calgary Roughnecks in the West Final.

Throughout the year, they’ve clamped down on several of the NLL’s top shooters including the weekend series when the Rush swept Colorado to claim first in the West as the defense held the Mammoth’s dangerous duo of Adam Jones and Callum Crawford to just three goals. In the West Final, the Rush put the grip on Roughnecks scoring whiz Curtis Dickson, holding him to just a single goal in Game 2.

Saskatchewan will certainly have to rein in Smith and do their best to limit his supporting cast led by two former Rush – Ryan Benesch (10 assists, 16 points in the playoffs) and Alexander-Kedoh Hill (eight goals in the playoffs). From the other perspective, the Bandits will have to keep a close eye on the Rush’s Mark Matthews, the most valuable player from last season’s Champion’s Cup, and his cast of cohorts who can give an opposing netminders sunburn from lighting the goal lamp.

The Rush have the deepest offensive attack of any team in the NLL, anchored by Matthews who had his second straight 40-plus goal, 100-plus point campaign in 2016. Ben McIntosh, the 2015 NLL Rookie of the Year, and Zack Greer, who had his second consecutive 40-goal season, both notched four-goal games during the West Final, and Robert Church led the NLL in power-play goals during the regular season. There’s danger waiting around every corner for the Bandits defense and the Rush hope to capitalize on that vast scoring arsenal.

“Our offense will definitely need to be executing well,” said McIntosh. “Buffalo’s team can do it all. They have great goaltending, great defense, and great offence, so these games are going to be a battle for 60 minutes.”

Goals on the Go: The transition part of the game is probably the most exciting for the fans and the most heart attack-inducing for the coaches. Saskatchewan excels at creating offensive out of its defense with the likes of Chris Corbeil, Nik Bilic, Adrian Sorichetti, and Jeff Cornwall. But Buffalo stampeded on the Rush with their own transition when they met in February, scoring eight of their 19 goals including the OT winner in transition. The Rush are well aware that they’ll need to be better at this key aspect in the Cup Final.

“They are very dangerous in all areas of the floor. We’ll need to be smart in the transition game, but also don’t want to get away from what makes us successful,” said Rush gunslinger Zack Greer. “We need to make good decisions and do our best to slow them down.”

Speed Thrills: ILIndoor.com named Saskatchewan’s Jeff Cornwall its second star of the week for the Division Finals after he racked up one assist, six loose balls, and three forced turnovers in Game 2 against Calgary.

By SaskRush.com. Photo by Micheline Veluvolu.

NLL