The Saskatchewan Rush have revenge on their mind heading into the 2017-18 season

After losing to the Georgia Swarm in last season’s NLL Champions Cup Final, the Rush won’t have to wait long to enact that revenge either as they host the Swarm at SaskTel Centre on Saturday night in preseason action.

“We built a bit of a rivalry last year in the championship, obviously we’re not going to get the revenge that we want with a preseason game, but we can come out and show that we’re going to be another good team this year and it’s not going to be easy for them to repeat,” said Rush forward Robert Church over the phone this week.

The Rush are gearing up for their third season here in Saskatchewan and the first season that they enter without a championship banner to raise after falling in two games to the Swarm.

Church said that even though it’s preseason, they’re going out to prove a point when they host Georgia. “It’s going to be a pretty intense game, guys are out there battling for spots and you’re going to see a really good game on Saturday,” he said.

Saskatchewan heads into this season with their sights on a third championship in four years.  They have many key returning players that should give them a good shot at returning to the championship game for a four straight season.

“We’re going to get better with guys like Ryan Keenan, Mike Messenger and Matt Hossack entering their second year, they’re going to better and we’re going to be a team that teams are going to have marked on their calendar because we’re going to be the top dogs again,” said Church.

This is Church’s fifth season with the Rush, he finished second on the team with 35 goals and 77 points in 18 games last season.  It was his third straight season with 35+ goals.

Coming into this year, Church said he’s expecting big things from himself after a good summer.

“I’m a little more familiar with the league now, you know all the guys on the team and what the coaches are expecting from me, so I’m really excited to get going and keep improving as a player,” he said.

“I felt like I could get in better shape, so that was one of my main focuses.  I played all summer, so I kept the stick in hand.”

More than anything, Church said him and his teammates are looking forward to getting back on the field in front of Rush Nation.

“We love playing at home and it’s such an advantage playing in front of those fans, they’re so loud and energetic, and it’s something that we look forward to every year and it’s an honour to play in front of that fan base,” said Church.

The Rush will host the Swarm in preseason action on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at SaskTel Centre.  The regular season opens for the Rush on Dec. 16 in Toronto.