Corey Small knows the remedy for disappointing defeats.
It boils down to getting back at it, erasing the memories of the setback, and moving forward.
That’s the approach the Edmonton Rush took following their season-opening loss to Toronto, which led to an impressive turnaround last week complete with a decisive 18-10 victory over the Washington Stealth.
It’s also roughly the same approach the Rush are taking towards the entire 2013 National Lacrosse League season after falling a handful of goals short against the Rochester Knighthawks in the Champion’s Cup final this past spring.
The Rush forward, and former team Rookie of the Year, certainly played a big role in getting Edmonton its first win of the season with last weekend’s lopsided win over Washington. He’ll be back at it again as the Rush look to down the Stealth for a second game in a row Friday night on the Crystal Glass Field at Rexall Place.
“I think we got away from what was working for us,” Small surmised on the home-opener setback to the Rock.
“It was a learning experience and we picked it up against Washington. We were focused and stuck to our principles. We definitely got some solid goaltending from Boldy (Aaron Bold) and our defense was solid as usual. Right now on offense we’re scoring by committee. Everyone is doing their part and helping us out.”
Small point about the offense is noteworthy. Rookie sensation Mark Matthews leads the Rush in scoring with seven goals and 14 points. Small is next with 12 points including nine assists, Ryan Ward has racked up 11 points, and Curtis Knight, the Rush’s second first-round pick in the 2012 draft, has nine points highlighted by four power-play goals. Once sniper Zack Greer gets his shot re-sighted and the Rush pick up some punch from their transitional runners, there’s bound to be a plethora of offense. For a team that has ranked at or near the bottom in the league for goals-scored since pretty much the club’s inception, it is a welcome vision to witness such scoring prowess.
Small, who is originally from St. Catharines, Ont., will play a huge part in the Rush’s revamped scoring punch. The University of Albany product really stepped to the forefront in 2011 when registered a team-leading 63 points. Although his number dipped during the 2012 regular season, Small rebounded in a big way during the Rush’s playoff drive, finishing the post-season with 14 points including five goals coming in Edmonton’s stunning West Semifinal win over Calgary.
The Rush’s playoff success a year ago showed that the team has a strong enough core to be a serious contender in the NLL. In 2013, the Rush’s aim is to not just repeat the feat, but go the extra step and claim the title.
“The loss in the final left a bad taste in our mouths and we’re all eager to get another shot at it,” said Small, who co-holds the Rush team record for points in a single regular-season game (nine), and set the record last season for assists in a single game (eight).
“We all came into the season with the same mindset that we can’t go 0-5 to start, and we battled back after the loss to Toronto. We peaked at the right time last year and made it to the final and we want to go back.”