EDMONTON — Mark Matthews scored five goals and added three assists as the Edmonton Rush won the National Lacrosse League’s Champion’s Cup on Friday by defeating the Toronto Rock 11-10 in Game 2 of the best-of-three final.
Robert Church had a pair of goals while Jeff Cornwall, Zack Greer, Ben McIntosh and Matthew Dinsdale also scored for the Rush. Edmonton swept the first-ever NLL final between two Canadian teams.
It was the Rush’s first NLL championship win, coming in their 10th season.
Rob Hellyer, Kasey Beirnes and Colin Doyle each had two goals for the Rock, who came up short in their drive for a record seventh championship. Josh Sanderson, Kevin Crowley, Stephan Leblanc and Jeff Gilbert also scored for Toronto.
The first quarter proved to be a defensive struggle, as Toronto emerged with a 2-1 lead on goals by captain Sanderson and Hellyer on Rush goalie Aaron Bold. The Rush responded with a goal by Cornwall on Rock starter Brandon Miller.
The Rush had a late surge in the second to take a 5-4 lead into the half as Matthews scored a pair of goals, including one with just 0.1 seconds remaining on the clock.
A three-goal surge briefly put the Rock in front again, but Church scored his second of the game with less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter to send the game into the fourth tied at eight.
Toronto took the lead once again, but Matthews continued to put on a show, scoring his fifth of the game on a leaping short-handed breakaway shot to put his team up 10-9 with four-and-a-half minutes to play.
Doyle tied the game with two minutes left, but Dinsdale responded for Edmonton with 1:02 to play and the Rush were able to kill the clock thanks to a huge stop by Bold to win the game.
Notes: Rock forward Brett Hickey was absent from the Toronto lineup after suffering an injury in the pre-game warm-up… The Rush won the first game of the series 15-9 last Saturday in Toronto… Edmonton had played in the Champion’s Cup just once before, falling to the Rochester Knighthawks in 2012.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press