With action on back-to-back nights and a stint of travel in between, the Edmonton Rush are hoping their first doubleheader weekend of the 2013 schedule is a fruitful one. The Rush definitely would like to come away with two clutch victories this weekend, and if they are able to, it would serve two gigantic purposes.
A win in Friday night’s tilt against the Washington Stealth on the Crystal Glass Field at Rexall Place would give the Rush their first home victory of the season. If they’re able to come away from Saturday’s venture at the Pepsi Center in Denver with a win over the Colorado Mammoth, the Rush would climb right back into the thick of things in the NLL’s West Division and go a long ways to balancing out their record against divisional foes.
It’s no small task turning the trick on back-to-back nights, but the challenge is one the Rush are up for.
First assignment – shoot down the Stealth ...
“A win at home is important for a lot of reasons,” offered Rush GM/Head Coach Derek Keenan. “First and foremost we are 1-4 and need to turn this around now and we owe it to our fans and the organization to win at home. We’ve not been great at Rexall and that has to change.”
Edmonton’s lone win so far this season came against Stealth but on the road in Everett. A week later, the Stealth rebounded from the shellacking and upset the Rush at Rexall Place. Setbacks to Toronto and Calgary have compiled the Rush’s home-floor woes.
“We need to put the whole package together for 60 minutes to get the first win at home,” added Keenan. “We’ve played well in spurts but need to be consistent.”
Second task – maul the Mammoth …
“It’s important the players eat as soon as possible after the first game of a back-to-back and also quickly replenish fluids,” Keenan said. “We depart real early in the morning (Saturday) so trying to get sleep is important but not always easy to settle in after a game. Typically the guys will get caught up on sleep when they arrive early in Denver.”
And with some food, fluid, and rest, the Rush will be look for a critical win on the Mammoth’s home turf – a place they’ve had a surprising amount success in the past couple seasons.
The Rush’s off- and on-season training regimen comes into play along with the injection of youthful enthusiasm that comes from a strong batch rookies like Mark Matthews and Curtis Knight plus pre-season acquisitions like the suddenly surging duo of Jeremy Thompson and Jarrett Davis.
“For the guys that are in the lineup two games in a row they are usually motivated one way or another - either they’re coming off a big win or a tough loss,” added Keenan.
“The young legs do help, but I think our fitness and conditioning are good overall so we just have to deal with the travel and the altitude and take care of our bodies.”