Rush can't hold fast start in loss to Mammoth

The Saskatchewan Rush got off to a quick start but they couldn’t hold back an avalanche from the Colorado Mammoth.

Colorado scored five unanswered goals in the second quarter and wound up with a 12-6 win on Saturday night at SaskTel Centre. The season-series between the two West Division rivals is now evened up and they’ll settle the issue right back on Co-Op Field on February 8th. The Mammoth’s win also ended their eight-game losing streak against the Rush in regular-season action.

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The Mammoth (4-3) were sparked by five goals from Chris Wardle and a 53-save performance from goaltender Dillon Ward. The Rush (3-2) got two goals apiece from Ben McIntosh, including his 200th career regular-season marker, and Jeff Shattler.

Saskatchewan blazed out of the gates, kicked off by Ryan Keenan’s goal just 35 seconds in the game. The Rush then added two straight power-play goals – McIntosh with a quick-stick strike from the edge of the crease and Mark Matthews with a shot from the top of the slot that found the top corner past Ward.

But after closing the gap before the end of the first, the Mammoth rumbled their way into a huge momentum swing in the second quarter. Back-to-back goals from Eli McLaughlin were quickly followed by two straight goals from Wardle, giving him a first-half hat trick. Joey Cupido, who doomed the Rush’s playoff hopes with the overtime winner in last year’s West Division Semifinal, upped the Mammoth lead with 41 seconds left in the opening half with a long-range shot that eluded Rush goalie Evan Kirk.

The Mammoth added two more in the third and then put the hammer down in the fourth beginning with Wardle’s fifth of the night with a sidearm rocket from outside. Ryan Lee made it 11-5 and McLaughlin rounded out the visitors’ scoring with hat-trick tally.

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