The Vancouver Warriors (2-6) take on the Saskatchewan Rush (2-4) at Rogers Arena in Week 11 of NLL action.
Saskatchewan is coming off their second win of the season, a 10-9 victory against Panther City Lacrosse Club.
Coquitlam native Robert Church finished with a game-high eight points, clocking an even 4-4 for goals and assists. Victoria’s Zach Manns had two goals and three assists and Ryan Keenan had five assists. Another Coquitlam product, goaltender Frank Scigliano, made 42 saves in the win.
Church leads the Rush with 34 points this season, Manns is close behind with 33 points and Keenan leads the Rush with 21 assists.
Saskatchewan made a recent coaching adjustment since the last time they crossed paths with Vancouver. General Manager, Derek Keenan is now back behind the Rush bench in a co-coaching arrangement with Head Coach Jimmy Quinlan, parting ways with assistant coach Bruce Alexander five games into the season.
“They’re different now that they’ve got their old head coach back in Derek Keenan, who is someone I really admire. He’s an exceptional coach and it gives Jimmy Quinlan the ability to run the offence and not have to focus on the whole bench where he does a really good job,” comments Warriors General Manager and Head Coach Curt Malawsky. “Watching video, they changed up quite a few things, and it makes a big difference when you’ve got those two guys on the bench together and Jeremy Tallevi’s done a good job on the back end. They’re well coached and I just think having the presence of Derek, you won’t be able to compare it to two weeks ago. Watching them play Panther City, they’re better than they were two weeks ago so we’re going to have to be that much better.”
The Warriors are looking to avenge a 12-11 overtime loss last week to the Georgia Swarm.
Vancouver came back from a 10-6 deficit late in the third quarter, scoring four goals, including a pair by Keegan Bal, to tie the game. Adam Charalambides sent the game into an extra frame, but the Warriors were bested by the Swarm in overtime.
There were eight different scorers for Vancouver against Georgia, Bal finished with five points (2-3-5), Kevin Crowley and Charalambides chipped in two each, while Ryan Martel, Tyson Kirkness, Owen Grant and Brad McCulley tallied singles. Rookie defender Grant was a beast on the back end, also collecting nine loose balls and had four caused turnovers.
Vancouver’s last victory was against the Rush in Week 8 when Charalambides led the team with four goals and three assists, earning him Week 8 Player of the Week honours.
Charalambides liked the effort, energy and composure Vancouver had against the Swarm and said the Warriors had good communication from faceoff to final goal. Continuing to improve their play, he feels they need to be more technically sound and clean up turnovers they had last game.
“Martel, and a couple of the other lefties and I have been having good conversations this week on how we really want to improve our two-man on that side. We feel like our strength is in Baller and Crowley and their two-man game and we want to see that a little bit more out of the lefties as well, so we have that balance of a punch from both sides,” Charalambides said. “Just trying to be a little tactically sharper and talking about how Saskatchewan plays with that top-down pressure and being prepared for that.”
Faceoff is at 7:00 p.m. PT and we are celebrating Warriors’ ‘Super Hero Night’, so make sure to wear your best superhero attire, and yes, there’s a costume contest. You’ll want to arrive early because the first 1,000 fans will receive a one-of-a-kind custom comic book sharing the history of lacrosse called ‘Marvel Legends of Lax’. The cover of the comic features a custom design of Warriors’ captain Brett Mydske, Bal and Charalambides. Excelsior!!!