Victory in Vegas: New-look Saskatchewan Rush records first win of season

Michelle Berg/Saskatoon Star Phoenix. The Saskatchewan Rush take on the Rochester Nighthawks in the NLL Home opener at SaskTel Centre on Saturday, Dec. 9.

Darren Zary, Saskatoon StarPhoenix

The Saskatchewan Rush gave its fans an early Christmas present over the weekend.

The Rush will be heading into the Christmas holiday break with a bow tied to its first win of the National Lacrosse League season.

With a sudden outburst of scoring, Saskatchewan pulled off a 17-5 victory over the host Las Vegas Desert Dogs in NLL action late Friday night.

Saskatchewan — which lost its season-opener to the Halifax Thunderbirds and home-opener to the Rochester Knighthawks —  built up a commanding 9-2 lead at the half in Vegas and never looked back.

Captain Ryan Keenan had his best game yet in his NLL career with a 10-point night, recording a goal and nine assists.

Robert Church scored four goals and added three assists for a seven-point game. Zach Manns tallied four goals and one assist, while fellow newcomer Nathaniel Kozevnikov had a hat-trick. Clark Walter chipped in with two goals and two assists. Cameron Wengreniuk, another new face for the Rush this season, had two goals.

Mike Messenger, who caused a game-high four turnovers defensively, rounded out the scoring.

Patrick Dodds collected seven assists for Saskatchewan, which held a 48-43 edge in shots and capitalized on five of 10 power play chances. Las Vegas went 2-for-5.

Isaac Ngyou scooped up eight loose balls to lead the Rush in that category,

Big off-season acquisition Frank Scigliano made 38 saves to record his first win for Saskatchewan, which outscored Vegas 6-0 in the final quarter to salt away the victory.

The Rush return to action New Year’s Eve when they play host to the Albany Firewolves. Game-time is 7 p.m. at SaskTel Centre.