Friday, February 10, 2012

Benny and the Swarm Sting Rush in Overtime Thriller

By Josh Bourhis

The Photo Speaks for Itself


The Edmonton Rush left the hive with a stinging feeling tonight as they dropped to 1-3 after a 10-9 overtime loss to Minnesota. Feeling swarmed in overtime, the Rush lasted just past the 3:00 minute mark all because of Aaron Bold, who had another stellar performance stopping 41 out of 51 shots. It was Ryan "Benny" Benesch with a great individual effort ending up right at the top of the crease to notch his hat trick goal ending the second longest game in NLL history.

Scott Evans, who was suspended for his actions in last weekends game versus Colorado, was clearly missed tonight as the Rush offence never really clicked. Scott Tinning moved up to offence to try to lighten the load on the starters, but wasn't very effective putting up only a single assist. The Rush struggled out there most of the time when it was even strength, and it showed on the scoreboard.  Four of their nine goals came on special teams, with two on the power play, and two short-handed. The Rush need to get their 3 man game clicking soon, to open up the floor and start tiring out defences. Another thing they need to work on is their off ball game. There is not enough cutting by the players who don't have the ball.

The Rush on defence had another outstanding night, with every single defender grabbing at least one loose ball. Toll, Rubisch and Mydske were the top loose ball collectors with nine, eight, and six respectively.

The Swarm had great efforts from their rookies tonight, especially recently named All Star Jordan MacIntosh who had an impressive 14 loose balls and went 62% in faceoffs tonight. Jay Card, another rookie had three assists and five loose balls tonight. The leading scorer in the game was Callum Crawford, who put up five assists and six points.

Memorable Moments and Loose Ends:
-The Scott Evans suspension came as a surprise to us at the NLL Blog as it was not mentioned at all on NLL.com
-Jarrett Toll took a huge hit from Andrew Suitor, who had a great physical game, and did the little things right.
-Despite Bold having a great night, he is still letting the easy goal through. It has improved, but to be considered one of the best, you have to prevent letting these in.
-The Rush transition game were great on breakaways, but had some problems tonight during one on one situations. They had transition players taking the ball deep, but not to the corner on these rushes, which would lead to turnovers. They need to take the ball corner deep and peel back, or pass the ball off to the offensive player at centre field.
-Tinning while struggling on offence had a great defensive play late in the game on a Swarm breakaway to keep the game tied.

Three Stars:

3. Jordan MacIntosh

2. Aaron Bold

1. Ryan Benesch

Overall Grade:

Rush: B-

Swarm: B+

The Rush head to Calgary next Saturday to square off with their provincial rival. This is the first out of the four Battle of Alberta's being broadcast on Sportsnet this year. The game goes live at 7:00 pm MST. The Swarm get only a single day off before hosting Rochester this Sunday at 3:00 pm EST for an afternoon tilt.

Follow @Boursey on Twitter.

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