Edmonton roughs up Calgary on the road with decisive exhibition victory
The Edmonton Rush finished the National Lacrosse League preseason unbeaten with a 2-0 record by taking this year’s first edition of the Battle of Alberta via a decisive 11-3 win over the Calgary Roughnecks before over 11,000 fans at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.
The Rush, who built quarter leads of 4-0, 5-1 and 8-2, were led offensively by star forward Mark Matthews who scored twice and added three assists for a game-leading five-point night. Second-year scorer Robert Church contributed with a three-goal performance while Mitch Banister, Jeff Cornwall, Zack Greer, Riley Loewen, Tyler Melnyk and Corey Small also scored in the win.
Church’s fellow 2014 NLL All-Rookie Team member Karsen Leung led the Roughnecks with a three-point effort, including netting a pair of goals, while 2014 NLL leading goal scorer Dane Dobbie added a single tally for the home club.
Incumbent starter Aaron Bold and newcomer Tyler Carlson combined for 49 saves in the victory while Mike Poulin turned aside 34 shots for Calgary.
The visiting Rush dominated the special teams battle, going 4-8 on the power play while killing five of six Calgary chances.
The Roughnecks fell to 1-2 on the NLL preseason by dropping the rematch of last year’s West Division Finals when the team moved on to face Rochester for the Champion’s Cup, spoiling the top-seeded Rush’s record-setting season.
The league’s 29th year opens with NLL Face Off Weekend 2015 presented by New Era on January 2-3 with every team in action. Calgary and Edmonton both start their regular seasons on Saturday, Jan. 3 with the Roughnecks hosting the Vancouver Stealth while the Rush visit the Buffalo Bandits.