The Saskatchewan Rush made Aaron Bold’s homecoming a forgettable one. The former Rush netminder was pulled twice while giving up 14 goals as the Rush rolled to a 24-11 win in over New England front of close to 15-thousand SaskTel Centre home opening night fans.
It was a memorable night for Saskatchewan sniper Mark Matthews. Last season’s second-leading point producer in the NLL scored six (sock trick) and added seven assists to put up a single game team record 13 points. Ben McIntosh had five goals and two assists with Robert Church lighting the lamp twice and adding eight helpers. The line combined for an outstanding 32 points.
The Rush broke the game wide open in the second quarter with the scored tied 3-3. Saskatchewan scored ten unanswered goals including back-to-back shorthanded markers by Ryan Dilks and Curtis Knight just 19-seconds apart.
Rush coach and general manager Derek Keenan told the after-hours post-game show on 98-COOL the offensive surge came after a tentative stretch that saw the Black Wolves battle back with back-to-back goals to tie the game. Ryan Keenan’s go-ahead marker sparked a four-goal onslaught in 1:38 capped by the two shorthanded goals. Derek Keenan said they became much more aggressive on offence after regaining the lead.
The Rush carried a 10-3 lead into the dressing room at halftime and limited New England to just 13-shots in the first 30-minutes. They outshot the visitors 65-42 overall.
In addition to Matthews setting yet another offensive team record, goaltender Evan Kirk made his 3,000th career save in a game that featured the two goaltenders who were the principles in the August 1 blockbuster trade.
Bold and defender John LaFontaine who also went to New England in the deal got a standing ovation from the crowd during a first-half break.
The Rush have reversed last year’s slow start and will take a 2-0 record into a January 6 rematch in Georgia against the Swarm after losing to the Atlanta based team in last season’s Champion’s Cup final.