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Panther City Routs Saskatchewan Rush

The Panther City Lacrosse Club  (7-5) defeated the visiting Saskatchewan Rush (5-5) on Saturday night at Dickies Arena, 16-10. The win now moves Panther City into third place in the Western Conference with six games remaining.

The team was led by Will Malcom who recorded eight points, including tying his career high with five goals, while adding three assists. Jonathan Donville, who is second in the NLL in assists, led the club with five assists and also added two goals for a total of seven points.

Panther City’s transition duo of Tony Malcom and Josh Medeiros were crucial for Panther City this evening as Malcom led the team with three caused turnovers, tied for the team lead with nine loose balls and also added a goal. Medeiros recorded two fourth-quarter goals and also scooped up five loose balls. Panther City held the advantage 76-67 in regards to loose balls on the evening.

Defensively, Nick Damude turned away 37 of the 47 shots (.787 save percentage) he faced on the evening. Damude who has found his offensive stroke recently also recorded two assists, after scoring a goal in Colorado last weekend. Panther City’s captain, Matt Hossack recorded nine loose balls and also caused two turnovers. The defense as a unit forced 16 turnovers.

Panther City has an off weekend next week, before returning home to face the Las Vegas Desert Dogs on Saturday, March 18 at 7 p.m. at Dickies Arena.

POST GAME QUOTES

HEAD COACH TRACEY KELUSKY

On how he feels about being 3rd in the Western Conference…

“It feels good, we just talked about it this week. We challenged the boys last week, said that we needed our best. There are definitely areas of the game that need to be cleaned up, but I love the emotion. I loved when we play with passion. I love it when we play desperate. The emotion the guys bring on the bench, they are talking to one another, they get feisty and they’re in it from the get-go. I thought we were in it mentally, which is a big part of what we want to do all the time. It feels real good.”

On the offense coming alive in the 4th quarter…

“[Saskatchewan] was obviously chasing a lit bit, trying to create some stuff in transition. We were pushing the envelope a little bit too much, so I’m grateful that we were able to capitalize. Our transition guys, Meddy [Josh Medeiros] was unbelievable in the 4th quarter. Obviously with a couple big goals. Callum Crawford – collectively we were good, but Callum Crawford timely goals and big goals,  when it was time for big goals he does Callum Crawford things, which is why we got him.”

On how he feels about the offensive output against a traditionally stout Rush defense…

“It feels good offensively, when you get an output like that. Our commitment to our game plan was probably the best it’s been all year, almost to a fault. I thought Buques [Saskatchewan Rush goalie Alex Buque] played well early. The scout we had on him – he was making the saves. We made a couple adjustments and the guys bought in, but it was about our commitment to executing the things we talked about. From my perspective that’s all you can ask for as a coach.”

On how he sees his team coming together…

“Every point in every season, the coach has to hand the team back over to the players. We can only preach so much, don’t get me wrong we are still going to coach, [but] if you have watched [Defensive Coordinator Steve Toll] Coach Toll, he’s coaching till the last minute of every game of every play and I am the same way and Gounds [Offensive Coordinator Kyle Goundrey] is the same way. Ultimately, it’s about the boys holding each other accountable and buying in. I look at is, we don’t have a home game in January, but we are real lucky in the sense that we get 3 or 4  [home] games in the month of March at Dickies Arena. I know I am excited and the guys are [too], to come to Texas. They appreciate coming here and they appreciate the fans that we do have. They know what their job is, to win games but also as a lacrosse player, their job is to build the game. They are excited, but they know it’s not going to happen overnight, we aren’t going to sellout at Dickies, but slowly but surely we are going to do our job with winning, if we keep building they will come.”

On how he feels about Steve Toll and the defense’s progression in year two…

“If anyone knows him, he’s a perfectionist. He loves everything to detail and to the point, but he holds guys to a higher standard, they don’t get away with anything back there. [It’s] almost to a fault because we are up 7 or 8 and he’s still all over the guys. At the end of the day, he’ll be the first to say, “You show me a good goalie and I’ll show you a good defense.” Nicky [Goalie Nick Damude] is playing real good right now and he’s settled in. There are probably 2 or 3 [goals] that he wouldn’t have wanted to a happen tonight, but collectively we are playing well in front of him. Nick Damude is the backbone of our defense.”

On how he feels about Malcom and his scoring…

“Back to the challenge, we challenge him and I challenge him. The best part about it was I challenged him a few weeks ago and the response I got back was, “TK, you can be harder on me, you can push me more” and I don’t know if it’s my era, the era I came from was like [getting] pushed all the time constantly. The fact Malcom was like “I need you to [push] me, I need you to get on me, I need you to pick out all the little things”. I don’t like to overcoach, none of our coaches do, but again he’s a professional and he wants to be the best player in the league and slowly but surely I think he’s stepping toward that direction.”

FORWARD WILL MALCOM AND TRANSITION PLAYER TONY MALCOM

On how fun it is to play together…

  1. Malcom: “Yeah, obviously, growing up watching him and finally get to play with him it is surreal. I am getting used to it now. He is just a teammate, and sometimes I forget he is my brother. It is a really cool feeling.”
  2. Malcom: “Yeah – I know Gounds [Offensive Coordinator Kyle Goundrey] talked about it at the end of the game – great memories that we will look back on, especially as we make a playoff push here and push for a championship.”

On Head Coach Tracey Kelusky pushing him more recently after he asked to be pushed more…

W.Malcom: “I think TK was being really nice to be all season because I think I have had a few bad games and I just told him it was okay for him to push me and I like it. I like being pushed. It is working out. I am starting to play a little better.”

On how Kelusky is pushing him more…

  1. Malcom: “Just little conversations we have – trying to motivate me and obviously he sees potential in me and thinks I can do more. I could have done more tonight. Just the little things.”

On his improved defense game…

  1. Malcom: “I don’t know – Tony growing up played ‘O’ [offense], so I didn’t really learn anything defensively from him. I think I have pretty good cardio, so I don’t mind running back on defense every once and a while and stop the transition.”

T.Malcom: “I think a lot of it is instincts. If you are playing offense and you grew up in a good system. We both obviously grew up together in New Westminster and we breed a lot of two-way players. It is just that.”

On the team’s progression as they enter the last third of the season…

  1. Malcom: “I think we are gaining a lot of confidence. I think there are a lot of underrated players on our team. I think a lot of players get talked about a lot in the league, but we have several on the back end that should be getting a lot more credit for what they bring to the table and I think we are starting to feed off each other and grow with wins like that. They are no slouch of a team there. They have won three in a row. They lost a few players, but that is a big win. We are two games above .500 now entering the last third of the season. We know we are good and we are going to make a playoff push here and hopefully make a push for a championship.”

On the transition goals taking some pressure of the offense…

  1. Malcom: “I think it just takes a little pressure off of us sometimes. Obviously on the ‘O’ we are not perfect. We have had a few bad runs, bad games and when the ‘D’ guys come up and put the ball in the net it gets us going and gets some good momentum going. Like I said, takes a lot of pressure off of us.”
  2. Malcom: “TK said before the game we want three [goals from transition] every night minimum out of the back end. That will put us in a position to succeed. Ideally in this league if you can get 12 [goals] it will put you in a good position to win. If we put up three that takes a little off of the offense to do that.”
Panther City Lacrosse Club