Battle of the Prairies has Saskatchewan Rush, Calgary Roughnecks vying for playoff spot

Saskatchewan Rush goaltender Frank Scigliano (92) take on the New York Riptide in NLL action at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Sask. on Saturday, March 16, 2024. -- Michelle Berg/Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Darren Zary, Saskatoon StarPhoenix

The Saskatchewan Rush is playing for its playoff life.

And so are the Calgary Roughnecks.

Those two teams — the National Lacrosse League’s bitter prairie rivals — close out a home-and-home series Saturday night (7 p.m.) at SaskTel Centre.

The Rush and Roughnecks were in Calgary on Friday for the first game. (Results were not available for the StarPhoenix print deadline.)

Saskatchewan and Calgary entered the weekend series both with a 6-8 record and tied for ninth place along with the Rochester Knighthawks.

The top eight teams advance to the NLL playoffs.

It’ll be an interesting goaltending battle this weekend between Rush netminder Frank Scigliano and Christian Del Bianco from the Roughnecks.

Statistically, both goalies have been very close this season. Scigliano entered the weekend series with a 6-7 record, 11.35 goals-against average and .773 save percentage, while Del Bainco was 6-and-8 with a 10.41 GAA and .799 save-percentage.

After Friday’s game in Calgary, Saskatchewan has three games left on the regular-season schedule, all on home turf at SaskTel Centre.

The Rush will host the San Diego Seals on Saturday, April 13 and the Toronto Rock on Saturday, April 20.

Game-time is 7 p.m. all three nights.

One of the bright spots this season for the Rush has been veteran defender Mike Messenger, who entered play on Friday second in the league with 33 caused turnovers. Messenger, who takes faceoffs for the Rush, is the only player in the NLL this season to record more than 100 loose ball recoveries, more than 30 caused turnovers, more than 15 points and more than 10 blocked shots.