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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
FINAL
Las Vegas
11
Panther City
13
Fri, Dec 9
FINAL/OT
Saskatchewan
12
San Diego
13
Sat, Dec 10
FINAL
Toronto
7
Rochester
11
Sat, Dec 10
FINAL
Vancouver
9
Calgary
11
WK
3
Fri, Dec 16
FINAL
Calgary
14
Vancouver
5
Fri, Dec 16
FINAL
Panther City
9
Las Vegas
3
Sat, Dec 17
FINAL
Buffalo
11
Toronto
8
Sat, Dec 17
FINAL
Rochester
14
Albany
13
Sat, Dec 17
FINAL
Philadelphia
13
Georgia
12
Sat, Dec 17
FINAL
Halifax
20
New York
11
Sat, Dec 17
FINAL
Colorado
12
Panther City
9
WK
5
Fri, Dec 30
FINAL
Halifax
13
Buffalo
18
Fri, Dec 30
FINAL
San Diego
17
Calgary
14
Sat, Dec 31
FINAL
Panther City
9
Saskatchewan
11
WK
6
Fri, Jan 6
FINAL
Philadelphia
14
Las Vegas
9
Sat, Jan 7
FINAL
Panther City
9
Rochester
17
Sat, Jan 7
FINAL
Halifax
14
Albany
11
Sat, Jan 7
FINAL
Buffalo
18
Georgia
9
Sat, Jan 7
FINAL
Toronto
15
New York
7
Sat, Jan 7
FINAL
Calgary
8
Colorado
9
Sat, Jan 7
FINAL
Vancouver
11
San Diego
16
WK
7
Fri, Jan 13
FINAL/OT
Albany
11
Halifax
10
Fri, Jan 13
FINAL/OT
Saskatchewan
10
Colorado
11
Sat, Jan 14
FINAL
Halifax
8
Toronto
17
Sat, Jan 14
FINAL
Panther City
12
Philadelphia
10
Sat, Jan 14
FINAL
Georgia
9
Buffalo
11
Sat, Jan 14
FINAL
San Diego
10
Calgary
14
Sat, Jan 14
FINAL
Las Vegas
16
Vancouver
19
Sun, Jan 15
FINAL
Rochester
11
New York
8
WK
8
Fri, Jan 20
FINAL
Buffalo
12
Rochester
15
Fri, Jan 20
FINAL
Vancouver
14
Las Vegas
15
Sat, Jan 21
FINAL
Toronto
14
Philadelphia
5
Sat, Jan 21
FINAL
New York
16
Albany
10
WK
9
Fri, Jan 27
FINAL
Rochester
7
Halifax
17
Fri, Jan 27
FINAL
Buffalo
13
Philadelphia
9
Q3
08:30
Buffalo
9
New York
7
Q2
11:24
Las Vegas
4
Saskatchewan
6
Sat, Jan 28
21:00:00
Toronto
Calgary
Q1
13:43
San Diego
1
Colorado
0
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
Sat, Mar 4
11:30:00
New York
Philadelphia
Sat, Mar 4
16:30:00
Las Vegas
San Diego
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
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Vancouver
Sat, Mar 25
22:30:00
Rochester
Las Vegas
WK
18
Fri, Mar 31
20:00:00
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Fri, Mar 31
21:00:00
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Fri, Mar 31
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19
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WK
20
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21:00:00
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21:00:00
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Colorado
Sat, Apr 15
19:00:00
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Sat, Apr 15
19:00:00
Georgia
Albany
Sat, Apr 15
19:30:00
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Sat, Apr 15
21:30:00
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Saskatchewan
Sat, Apr 15
22:00:00
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Vancouver
WK
21
Fri, Apr 21
20:30:00
Calgary
Panther City
Sat, Apr 22
18:00:00
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Sat, Apr 22
19:00:00
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Sat, Apr 22
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WK
22
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Georgia
Sat, Apr 29
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Rush Reveling In Second Cup Win As Much As First

When a team wins back-to-back championships, the first question that arises is which of the two, if either, is more special, more meaningful than the other.

The Saskatchewan Rush captured their second straight National Lacrosse League title this past Saturday, retaining their grip on the Champion’s Cup after sweeping the Buffalo Bandits in the best-of-three series. One year and one day earlier, the Rush won their first Cup by ousting the Toronto Rock in two straight. 

The first is always a sweet one, but this second one is particularly cherished especially since it came in front of a hugely enthusiastic new home fan base in Saskatchewan.

No matter how it’s described, the celebration is well worth all the effort. Not much separates the two title wins since the Rush returned an almost identical roster which one the 2015 championship to the one that raised the Cup at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon.

“The first one is special but there’s not much difference in the group of guys and winning with this group is just amazing,” said Rush defenceman Kyle Rubisch.

“It’s been all about buying in, keeping with the plan, and will power.”

Ben McIntosh couldn’t have asked for a better first two years as a pro. Last season, he won the NLL Rookie of the Year Award and helped the Rush win the Cup. This season, he led the Rush in playoff goal-scoring as he snapped in two goals in each of the four games, and was kissing the Cup on the turf for a second year in a row. 

“This group is pretty incredible. It’s not any less glorious this time,” said McIntosh. “It was a real battle. Maybe we were the underdogs but we just grinded it out and played the full 60 minutes. 

“That’s been our M.O. all year. We didn’t really blow anyone out in the first or second quarter, but we just kept grinding and in the third and fourth quarters we just pulled away. We’re a group of guys that doesn’t give up and we need that. We get to the fourth quarters and that’s where we win the games. We’re good at closing out the game and we like playing like that.”

For Rush GM/head coach Derek Keenan, this year’s championship wasn’t necessarily more memorable but he was able to enjoy it more thoroughly. Last season, Keenan took a short leave from team at the start of the season as he wife Wendy courageously endured a final battle against cancer. When the Rush clinched the Cup, it brought an end to a difficult yet rewarding journey.

“Last year, it was more of an emotional feeling and a sense of release after everything that happened,” reflected Keenan. “This year, there was more elation and I was very happy for the guys that we were able to finish something.”

With two in the bank, the Rush can now start looking to add to their championship account. Rochester won three straight championships in 2012, 2013 and 2014, while Toronto won five titles over a seven-year stretch.

The Rush could very emerge as a true dynasty. There’s every reason to expect that they’ll be a favorite for the Cup against in 2017 as the winning roster is slated to return almost entirely intact.

“We have a very good foundation,” said Keenan. “It’s not easy to win in this league. The teams get better every year and you never know with (league) expansion. But we still have a great core there, we’re still young, and we have assets in the bank moving forward. 

“This is a special group. They’re self-less. They don’t care who scores or who gets the accolades. They love being around each other. We’re going to keep the core together and try to get better.”

Forward Thinking: The Rush will take a short break – a team trip to Mexico is likely the next order of business – and then planning for the 2017 season gets going. Goalie Aaron Bold is the team’s only unrestricted free agent although he was assigned a franchise tag last season so it’s very doubtful he hits the open market. Keenan suggested the team is already close to re-signing Curtis Knight and Jeremy Thompson, and he expects no issues getting new deals done for Chris Corbeil and Kyle Rubisch. 

The Rush had a banner season not only in terms of a championship but also in regards to the business side of things with greater than expected ticket sales. However, that doesn’t mean Keenan will go hog wild on a spending spree, and he doubted the Rush will even wade into the NLL’s free-agent pool.

“We were close to the (salary) cap this year. It’s going to go up a bit, and we’ll stay at it and be right around the cap,” added Keenan.

Under the current collective bargaining agreement between the NLL and its players union, the 2017 season will mark the start of a 100% tax on teams going above the salary cap. In years past, it was only a percentage per dollar over, but now it will be a straight dollar-for-dollar. As an example, if a team goes $50,000 over the cap, it will be assessed a $50,000 tax. 

Top Picks: During Game 2 of the Cup Final, the TSN broadcast crew called the Rush’s 2016 draft situation a case of “the rich getting richer.” The NLL champs, thanks to some shrewd trades manufactured by Derek Keenan, have the first overall pick plus the third and ninth picks in the opening round of the 2017 Entry Draft which will be held in September. It’s a very good class up for grabs and includes Keenan’s son Ryan, who is sure to be a top-three selection. 

“Potentially there could be a trade but I want to use the first and third. Number 9 will depend. There some guys I like there but we’ll have to see how things fall,” said Keenan.

Story by SaskRush.com. Photo by Josh Schaefer.

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