NLL: Flailing Rush pick up Penney after record falls to 2-6

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The Saskatchewan Rush tallied another loss on Sunday afternoon, falling 12-10 to the Colorado Mammoth at Ball Arena. With a highly skilled and veteran lineup, the Mammoth secured second place in the NLL’s West Division as they approach the halfway point of the regular season with an impressive record of 6-2. But the Rush now sit at just 2-6; a far cry from the days of domination they’ve enjoyed for the last several years.

Saskatchewan was led statistically by Mark Matthews with five points (2G/3A) and Robert Church putting up another four points (1G/3A). Saskatchewan also dominated the faceoff circle all night long going 22 for 26 on draws. Josh Currier had a hat trick. It’s not like the leaders aren’t contributing; they are. The team just isn’t getting the wins. Maybe it’s lacking a spark.

GM Derek Keenan, seen assisting on the Rush bench on Sunday, pulled off a trade Wednesday, acquiring goaltender Eric Penney and a second-round pick in the 2023 draft from the Philadelphia Wings for the 23rd overall pick in the 2022 entry draft. Penney had appeared in just one game so far for the Wings but spent the prior five seasons with the then-struggling Vancouver Warriors.

“We think Eric gives us more experience as a starter in the NLL,” said Keenan. “We are at a critical stage in our season and believe Penney and Adam Shute can form a really solid tandem in goal.”

The Rush don’t have to wait long to see if their trade paid off and things will turn around; they’re right back in action against the Mammoth again on Saturday at 8:30 at Sasktel Centre. Shute or Penney, whomever gets called as the starter, will have to fend off Ryan Lee and a balanced Mammoth attack: 12 different players found the scoresheet this past weekend. Home-barn advantage and the continued support from the dedicated fans in the prairie province of Canada should help.

— with files from Kyle McFadyen