Rush push for second win against rebranded Warriors

The Saskatchewan Rush will play a familiar team with a new name Saturday in Vancouver.

The Rush — who are an even-up .500 through the early stages of the 2019 National Lacrosse League season — are playing the Vancouver Warriors, previously the Vancouver Stealth, in a Saturday-night matchup.

Here’s some things to know as Saskatchewan prepares for Game No. 3.

ONE WIN, ONE LOSS

The defending-champion Rush have played twice so far this season, losing 12-11 to the New England Black Wolves on Dec. 28 before rebounding with a 16-12 win over the expansion San Diego Seals at home on Jan. 5.

Vancouver, which struggled to a 2-16 finish last season, opened their new campaign with a 14-13 win over the Calgary Roughnecks before losing three straight — 14-8 to Calgary, 16-10 to Buffalo and 10-8 to Georgia.

THE EARLY SCORING RACE

NLL teams have played anywhere from two to four games so far — Saskatchewan is on the low end — so you’ll have to go all the way down to the No. 13 spot before you find a Saskatchewan player on the top-scorers list.

That player is Rush forward Ben McIntosh, who is tied for 13th with 15 points (eight goals, seven assists).

Saskatchewan’s Mark Matthews, who won the overall NLL scoring crown last season, is currently 17th with four goals, nine assists and 13 points through those two games.

Vancouver is led offensively by Logan Schuss, who is tied for fifth overall with six goals, 14 assists and 20 points in four games.

THE NAME CHANGE

The Stealth changed their name to Warriors after being purchased this summer by Canucks Sports and Entertainment.

The team previously played out of the Langley Events Centre, but their new home is Rogers Arena, home of the Canucks. They went 2-16 last season.

Rostered players include former Rush goaltender Aaron Bold. Saskatchewan traded Bold to New England prior to last season, and he signed with Vancouver as a free agent in September.

MILESTONES, 300 STYLE

Rush forward Jeff Shattler scored four goals during Saturday’s win over San Diego, leaving him two markers short of 300 for his career.

McIntosh had a huge night on Saturday, collecting five goals and four assists, and he now needs just three more points to reach 300.

UP NEXT

The Rush will return home for a Jan. 19 clash with the visiting Rochester Knighthawks, who they beat in last season’s NLL final, before hitting the road for two games — Jan. 27 in Georgia and Feb. 1 in Toronto.

They’ll follow that with a Feb. 9 home date against Calgary.

kemitchell@postmedia.com

twitter.com/kmitchsp

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