January 15, 2011

Boston Beats Rush in Defensive Battle

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by Patrick Clark O'Brien | NLL.com

The Boston Blazers (2-0) won against the Edmonton Rush (0-2) on Saturday night at TD Garden in Boston in front of 8,536 fans.

The defense driven first half had the fans cheering "DEFENSE" over and over, as goals were hard to come by on both sides.

Alex-Kedoh Hill, making his NLL debut for the Rush, scored the game's first goal. Nick Cotter of the Blazers got the second goal of the night. For the second time of the season, Cotter scored the first goal for the Blazers. The first quarter, slightly sluggish, ended with the score at 1-1. The game was tied 3-3 at halftime.

"Obviously [the defense] was strong when you put up three (goals in the first half) like that, but we still have lots of little things we could correct, but right now our defensive unit is playing well and when it does breakdown we have the best goalie in the league," said Head Coach Matt Sawyer of the Blazers.

"I thought overall we played a great game, came out a little slow, but that's just because our warm-up was not as planned," said Cotter. "Playing with Sanderson, Powell, and Dawson opens up so much space on the floor, it makes it easier for other guys to put the ball in the net."

The second quarter brought the first fight of the season to TD Garden when Jonathan Durno of the Blazers, and Dane Stevens of the Rush duked it out; both spent most of the quarter in the penalty box. Casey Powell scored his first goal of the night.

"I thought we did a good job neutralizing their transition, at times they certainly had some good transition opportunities," said Sawyer. "I didn't like the vibe early on, sometimes when you play at home there are a few more distractions then when you're on the road. I didn't think we were as prepared as well as we should."

Both teams came alive in the second half of the game with the third quarter becoming more offensive then defensive. The most memorable action occurred when Powell, Geoff McNultyand Mitch Belisle scored three quick goals on Rush goalie Matt Disher.

"I thought it was pretty physical, both teams made great moves offensively," said Head Coach Derek Keenan of the Rush. "I thought we played outstanding defensively as well. There was good goaltending on both sides. I was really happy with our defensive effort compared to a week ago."

The Blazers led 8-5 going into the fourth quarter, but the Rush put up a good battle. Cotter rallied the Blazers and the crowd with three minutes remaining by scoring his third goal of the night.

"We knew amongst ourselves that we came out slow, it all started with our warm-up," said Cotter. "But we picked it up and came out with a better thirty (minutes)."

The Blazers were led by Nick Cotter (3g, 1a), Casey Powell (2g, 1a), and Dan Dawson (1g, 3a). Leading the way for the Rush were Alex-Kedoh Hill (2g, 2a), Corey Small (1g, 1a), and Dane Stevens (1g, 0a).


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