The Saskatchewan Rush gave a big early Christmas present to their fans on Saturday night as they rolled to a 24-11 win over the New England Black Wolves in their home opener at SaskTel Centre.

The win improves the Rush’s record to 2-0 on the year.

“We just were able to get some really good looks and as an offence when you get those kind of open shots, you’re going to get some goals,” said forward Mark Matthews, who paced the Rush’s attack with six goals and 13 points.

The trio of Matthews, Ben McIntosh and Robert Church combined to post 32 points in the big offensive night for the Rush. McIntosh had five goals and nine points, while Church scored twice and added eight helpers.

The Rush held a slim 3-2 lead after the first quarter and the Black Wolves actually tied the game up at 3-3 early in the second quarter. Saskatchewan exploded after that scoring seven unanswered goals in the second to move in front 10-3 heading into halftime.

Matthews scored a pair in the offensive outburst, while McIntosh helped set up four of the goals. Ryan Kennan, Church, Ryan Dilks, Curtis Knight and Jeremy Thompson also scored in the second.

Saskatchewan continued the onslaught early in the third with a pair of goals from McIntosh and another from Matthews in the opening five minutes to put the Rush in front by ten.

The Rush would score nine times in the third period and push their lead to 19-5.  New England outscored Saskatchewan in the fourth, but it wasn’t nearly enough to close the gap.

“We were able to really execute in all areas of the game,” said Rush GM/head coach Derek Keenan. “We got our transition going, our ball movement was top notch, and we shot the ball really well... I thought we really got going after we started playing more physically in the offensive end.”

Dilks, Jeff Cornwall and Chris Corbeil all had a goal and two points in the win, while Jeff Shattler finished with a goal and three points. Adrian Sorichetti had two goals and Brett Mydske added one in the win.

Evan Kirk turned away 31 of 42 shots to pick up the victory in goal for the Rush, while Saskatchewan potted 14 goals on 39 shots on former goalie Aaron Bold. He was replaced by Doug Jamieson, who allowed 10 goals on 25 shots.

Saskatchewan will get the next week off before returning to the field on Jan. 6 for a NLL Champion’s Cup rematch against the Georgia Swarm in Atlanta.

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