A seven-goal outburst in the third quarter lifted the Saskatchewan Rush to a victory and into first place in the NLL’s West Division.
Ben McIntosh counted four of his six goals on the night during the third as the Rush (9-6) dropped the San Diego Seals 14-8 on the road at Pechanga Arena. The win moved the reigning league champs one-half game ahead of the expansion club atop the West standings and, just as importantly, gives the Rush the season-series edge over the Seals (9-7).
“One of those nights that the ball seemed to have eyes and found the back of the net,” said McIntosh, who has been the Seal-hunter this season. Through the three regular-season meetings, McIntosh has totaled 14 goals and 10 assists for 24 points.
“We thought we had done a decent job in the first half, but we had to get to the middle. We made some adjustments, the shots came, and that helped us out a lot.”
The teams struggled through a defensive-minded opening half with the Rush jumping ahead 3-2 before halftime as McIntosh clicked on a power play and Curtis Knight tallied on a McIntosh pass just 77 seconds later. Once the third quarter got under way, the Rush completely took over the game.
Ryan Keenan pushed the Rush ahead by two as his shot trickled through the legs of Seals goalie Frank Scigliano. Just over a minute later, McIntosh found all kinds of space in the slot to head towards the net and then pick the far corner. Only 1:30 later, McIntosh completed his hat trick as he rumbled towards the net, put a swim move on the Seals defender, and then bounced a shot home from in tight. Saskatchewan went ahead 7-2 when Mike Messenger finished off a transition opportunity as he went airborne at the edge of the crease and slammed a shot in. Just 26 later, McIntosh collected his fourth of the night with a laser from outside.
The Rush’s seven-goal run, including five goals in 5:32, was briefly interrupted by two goals from the Seals, but Saskatchewan got the offence fired up again. McIntosh notched his fifth with a rocket to the top corner past a screened Scigliano and Mark Matthews followed shortly afterwards with a hot shot in transition on a pass from Matt Hossack.
In the fourth, McIntosh tucked his sixth of the game for the sock trick in between tallies from Matthews and Marty Dinsdale. McIntosh’s final goal, coming on a sidearm shot from the wing, was enough to finally get Scigliano out of the Seals net. Matthews, whose goal opened the fourth quarter, was a unique tally as he put a shot inside the far post using his left hand. Dinsdale scored back-to-back goals for the Rush, both coming against Saskatchewan’s former backup Tyler Carlson.
Brett Mydske had the Rush’s other goal – their only tally of the first quarter – while Jeff Shattler registered five assists.
Adam Shute racked up 32 saves in the Rush net to earn his third victory of the season.
The Rush are right back at it Saturday night when they return home to SaskTel Centre to host the Philadelphia Wings.
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