The Edmonton Rush move to 8-0 in the NLL with a win over the Toronto Rock.
The Edmonton Rush have tied a regular season record, starting the season 8-0, a feat only accomplished previously by the '93 Buffalo Bandits after they defeated the Toronto Rock by the score of 11-10 on Friday in a game as close as the score suggests.
Toronto, a team plagued by inconsistency put pressure on the Rush defense early, having the lead 3 times in the first. Stephan Leblanc opened the scoring, while Garrett Billings scored on a breakaway and Kasey Beirness potted 2, the second of which came with less than a second left in the quarter. Mark Matthews had two goals as the Rush went into the second down 4-3.
Colin Doyle walked past John LaFontaine to expand the Rock lead, but Corey Conway and Robert Church tied the game going into the half.
Curtis Knight gave the Rush the lead 21 seconds into the third, Edmonton's only goal in the quarter. They had multiple scoring chances but were unable to convert, either hitting Nick Rose, or missing the net all together. Rose didn't seem to work too hard to make any saves, but maybe that's a compliment on his positioning. Kasey Beirness got his hat-trick goal on a great pass from Josh Sanderson who made it look like he was going to take the shot. Bold stepped up on Sanderson, but Beirness put it past him from the side of the net.
In comparison to the rest of the game, the Fourth was an offensive explosion. Josh Sanderson gave the Rock the lead again, but the Rush scored 3 in a row including an absolute rocket from Jeremy Thompson. Both teams traded goals until 44 seconds left, when Toronto pulled Nick Rose for an extra attacker. Brett Mydske scored his first of the year on the empty net, but Stephan Leblanc made it a one goal game again just 10 seconds later, but the Rock were unable to force overtime.
Toronto provided the most offensive pressure the Rush have faced this season, directing 47 shots on goal, 4.5 above Edmonton's season average for shots against. This was also the second time this season the Rush have allowed over 9 goals, the first time coming in the season opener in Colorado. Garret Billings lead the scoring with 2 goals and 5 assists, a total that somehow brings his average down.
Mark Matthews had 2 goals, but shot the ball 22 times, a career high. 17 made it on net, meaning he was responsible for 32% of Edmonton's shots. He scores on 14% of his shots, which is 3 points below league average. His skill shows his ability to create chances, and he's either taking poor shots or having bad luck. I think he could benefit from better shot selection, as poor shots usually end possession.
Edmonton goes for the regular season record against Vancouver on Saturday while Toronto hosts the high-flying Knighthawks.