EDMONTON - The Edmonton Rush got exactly what needed to help them out of a five-game home losing streak — a visit from the Washington Stealth.
The only team the Rush have managed to beat all season fell for the second time in a 15-10 loss on Friday at a sparsely populated Rexall Place.
It was Edmonton's first win there since last April, while they improved to 1-3 at home and 2-4 on the year, pulling even with three other teams at the bottom of the league — for one night, at least.
But it's a heck of a lot better than being alone there themselves, like they were heading into this weekend.
And this one didn't exactly come easy.
Sitting tied for the team lead at 25 points apiece coming in, Rush forward Ryan Ward and rookie Mark Matthews kept neck-in-neck off the hop on Friday, putting Edmonton ahead 2-0 before Washington tied it up with a pair of goals 22 seconds apart. But Cory Conway took on three defenders in front of Washington's crease on the way to his first goal of the season to regain the lead.
Ward and Matthews struck again on the way to a 6-2 lead after defender Chris Corbeil legged out a short-handed tally on a loose-ball breakaway.
Matthews recorded a hat-trick midway through the second quarter to take a 7-3 advantage into halftime.
Rhys Duch and Lewis Ratcliffe brought Washington within two to open the third quarter before Matthews scored his fourth of the game on the way to a three-goal run that put Edmonton ahead 10-5.
Both sides traded goals back and forth for the rest of the third quarter, with the Rush taking a 12-7 lead into the final frame.
Matthews officially became a handful, scoring his fifth goal less than two minutes in to put Edmonton up by six and give them their biggest lead of the game. That is, until he scored his sock-trick goal with seven minutes remaining, tying a club record set by Chris Gill in 2007 on his way to a team-record 37-goal season.
Washington got two back-to-back from Duch, who pulled them within five on his fourth goal and eighth point, before Athan Iannucci made it 14-10 with Washington's third goal in two minutes and 20 seconds.
Zack Greer stopped the bleeding and pulled some momentum back Edmonton's way with his second of the night.
The Rush will take on the Colorado Mammoth Saturday at 7 p.m. with both teams looking to improve on 2-3 records, with the loser stuck with a share of last place in the league, at best.