After dropping Game 2 of the West Finals 12-9, the Edmonton Rush surged in the 10-minute tiebreaker Game 3 with a 4-1 win over the Calgary Roughnecks in front of 12,785 fans at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night. With the win, the Rush will advance to the Champion's Cup Finals for the second time in team history.
Most of the points for the ‘Necks came off the sticks of Shawn Evans (3+3), Dane Dobbie (4+2) and Curtis “Superman” Dickson (4+2) while the Rush's production was keyed by Robert Church (3+1), Zack Greer (2+2), Mark Matthews (2+2), and Riley Loewen (2+0).
It was Curtis ‘Superman’ Dickson who opened the scoring in the first quarter, after flying in on a breakaway getting the momentum rolling for the Riggers. Jeff Shattler then scored his 19th of the 2015 season, followed by a goal off the stick of Dane Dobbie to give the Riggers the start they had hoped for.
The start was quickly halted by the Rush’s quick response when they found themselves on the Powerplay. A point from a penalty shot scored by Zack Greer awakened the Rush, and two more PP goals from Riley Loewen and Robert Church kept Edmonton’s pace. Jeremy Thompson gave the Rush its first lead of the game, followed by another off Loewen’s stick to add to the lead. Two more quick goals from the seemingly unstoppable Edmonton Rush would end the quarter with the score at 7-3 and shots on goal favoring Edmonton, 16-14.
But the Riggers managed to refocus in the second quarter. “Superman” Dickson was the one to end the Rush’s seven-goal streak, followed by Shawn Evans' first of the night after he bounced one past Aaron Bold. Dobbie then flew across the crease to close the gap in the score even more. It was then the Roughnecks show for the rest of the second, with Dobbie earning a hat trick on the PP, and Evans sniping another past Bold from the point. Eight seconds later Geoff Snider put one in right after the face-off, to give the Riggers a two-goal lead at 9-7 at the end of the quarter as Calgary led in shots, 28-24.
The third quarter was a back-and-forth battle with both teams seeing many chances. However, it wasn’t until eight minutes in that Edmonton broke the silence as Robert Church scored on the PP. The defensive performance on both sides was strong enough to prevent any scoring by either team for the rest of the quarter. Mike Poulin who entered the game in relief after the Rush’s seventh goal, stood tall and managed to stop 10 shots by Edmonton while Bold shut the Riggers out in the third after blocking nine shots on goal.
The fourth was another defensive battle as both teams matched each other’s momentum, and couldn’t seem to put one past either goalie. It was the usual suspect; Shawn Evans who earned himself a hat-trick and gave the Roughnecks a two goal advantage with 6:00 remaining in the quarter. Edmonton answered back quickly when Robert Church earned a hat trick as well. The rollercoaster ride of the West Final didn’t stop there, as Dickson pulled his signature Superman moves and put two more quick ones past Bold. The quarter would end there, Roughnecks win game two 12-9, Shots on goal in favor of Calgary, 52-47.
After taking Game 2 of the West Finals, it was on to the tiebreaker game, which was kicked off by a huge goal from Dobbie. Mark Matthews then made the appearance most were expecting by answering back with five minutes left in the game with a pretty swim dodge goal, followed by another off the stick of Jeff Cornwall on the break to give the Rush a crucial lead. After a five-hole goal from
Rush rookie phenom Ben McIntosh, the Riggers took an untimely penalty for delay of game. The extra attacker gave Matthews an optimal chance for an empty netter, after the Riggers pulled Poulin. The rest was history as the Rush moved on and avenged its loss to the Roughnecks in last year's West Finals.
Edmonton will face off with the Toronto Rock for the first-ever All-Canadian Champion's Cup Finals, with Game 1 in Toronto set for Saturday, May 30 at 7 p.m. ET. New for this year, the Champion's Cup Finals will feature a full best-of-three series with Toronto hosting Game 1 and Game 3 (if necessary). Game 2 is in Edmonton on TBA while Game 3 would take place on Saturday, June 13 if the series is tied 1-1.
Three Stars of Game 2 as selected by the media:
1) Mike Poulin
2) Andrew McBride
3) Curtis Dickson
Three Stars of Game 3 as selected by the media:
1) Mark Matthews
2) Aaron Bold
3) Dane Dobbie
By Laura Bates (@RoughnecksBeat) for NLL.com. Photo by Brad Watson.