NLL goal rush: Saskatchewan Rush outscore New York Riptide 17-15

Saskatchewan Rush forward Zach Manns (2) celebrates a goal as his team takes on the New York Riptide in NLL action at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon on March 16, 2024. PHOTO BY MICHELLE BERG /Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Darren Zary

Saskatooon StarPhoenix

Goals, goals, and more goals.

It started with six goals on the first six shots, with the Saskatchewan Rush taking a 4-2 lead.

It ended with the Rush outscoring the visiting New York Riptide 17-15 in National Lacrosse League action Saturday night at SaskTel Centre.

“It’s nice to win at home — I feel like the fans here have been due for a good performance and I think it’s just the start for us,” said Rush forward Zach Manns, who had a hat-trick Saturday as Saskatchewan recorded only its second time on home turf this season.

“Whenever we can play in front of the unreal fans at SaskTel Centre, it’s always amazing.”

With the win, Saskatchewan moved into ninth spot in the NLL standings and within striking distance of a playoff spot as the Rush improved to 5-6 overall for the season.

The Riptide fell to 6-8.

“It’s nice to take this one, but our backs are against the wall to get into the playoffs here so every game matters going forward,” said goalie Frank Scigliano, who made 41 saves for the win in net for Saskatchewan as the Riptide outshot the Rush 55-43.

“We just got to keep our composure. Down the stretch there, it got a little hairy but we were able to stick it out.”

Former Rush netminder Cameron Dunkerley stopped 26 shots for New York.

Manns and Jake Boudreau each tallied three goals and two assists to lead Saskatchewan offensively. Mike Triolo also notched a hat trick for the Rush, which led 5-3, 10-7 and 14-8 by quarters.

“I think we just moved the ball really well as a team,” said Manns. “I think in the past, the games we have played well and played almost a full 60 (minutes), we have started on time and that’s the biggest thing for our group, especially since we’ve got a lot of young guys who are inexperienced. It’s just about playing those first five minutes well and then the rest of the game.”

Ryan Keenan added a pair of goals and five assists for a seven-point game. Robert Church had two goals and three assists. Connor McClelland, Patrick Dodds, Mike Messenger and Nathaniel Kozevnikov each recorded singles.

NLL leading scorer Jeff Teat led New York with four goals and four assists. Larson Sundown added four goals and two assists. Kiel Matisz scored three goals along with two helpers, scoring twice during a span of 36 seconds during the final two minutes of play.

“Down the stretch, there’s obviously a lot of things we need to clean up,” said Rush head coach and associate general manager Jimmy Quinlan. “But we kept competing. Frankie was unbelievable. I think, if you look at the box score and you see 15 (goals against), sometime you don’t think he was. But the saves that he was making, and when he made them, were big for us. And, offensively, we got the timely goals.

“A lot of times in the fourth quarter, when they started to mount their comeback, we need a save but, tonight, we needed a goal and, fortunately for us, the big man, at 6-foot-8, just decided to will his way to the net and make a play and that, a lot of times, is what you need.”

Indeed, Triolo’s goal — his third of the game — ended a four-goal run in the fourth quarter by New York. Saskatchewan needed a goal badly after watching a six-goal lead evaporate to only two.

The Rush went on to hang on for the win.

The same two teams meet again next weekend on Long Island on Saturday before the Rush squad heads to Georgia to play the Storm on Sunday afternoon.

RUSH HOUR: Ryan Keenan recorded his 400th career NLL point with his second goal of the game Saturday … No penalties were called in Saturday’s game until late in the third period, with 1:54 left in the frame, when New York was assessed a minor for a hit on Messenger … Along with goalie Dunkerley, former Rush players on the Riptide include Austin Madronic and John Lafontaine.