The Las Vegas Desert Dogs Hit the Road to Vie for Their Second Consecutive Win

By Mark J. Bartlett

January 29, 2023-After earning their first-ever franchise win in a hotly-contested home floor matchup, the Las Vegas Desert Dogs head to the Great White North to take on the Saskatchewan Rush.

The newest expansion team of the National Lacrosse League, the Desert Dogs opened their home schedule on December 16, 2022, and quickly established themselves as a tough, no-nonsense team that gives their all every time they take the floor.

Harvard Graduate Austin Madronic scored his 3rd goal of the season a little over a minute into the game to give Saskatchewan the early 1-0 lead about a minute and a half into the opening frame, but both teams would engage in scoreless end-to-end action that featured stellar goalie play on both ends. Zack Greer would end the scoring drought and get the Desert Dogs on the scoreboard with 7:20 on the 1st quarter clock. Two minutes later, Jack Hannah gave Las Vegas a 2-1 lead with a brilliant shot off a textbook 1-on-1 dodge. Greer would grab another goal at 2:55, defying a tight crease and defeating 3 Rush defenders. That would do it for scoring in the opening frame, with the Desert Dogs enjoying a 3-2 lead.

Zack Greer gets the Desert Dogs on the scoreboard

Connor Kirst escalated the Las Vegas lead with his second goal of the season, going “five-hole” on the Rush goalie off a fast break only 9 seconds into the 2nd period. Robert Church would answer for Saskatchewan mere seconds later, and the score was knotted 4-4 early. The Rush made some significant offensive adjustments, utilizing picks and screens much more effectively, and built a 7-4 lead off of a five-goal run in under three minutes. It wasn’t until Charlie Bertrand tallied his 8th goal of the season to stop the bleeding for Vegas just before the 2 minute mark, cutting into a 6 goal Rush lead. Ruest would add another about a minute later as the Desert Dogs finally began to figure out Saskatchewan’s formidable 2nd quarter defense. At the buzzer, the Rush hit the locker room with a four point lead at 6-10.

Charlie Bertrand ends the Las Vegas scoring drought

Rob Hellyer opened second half scoring on a low-to-low long distance shot, beating the Rush goalie for his 7th of the season. Jon Phillips followed suit almost immediately, and the Desert Dogs drew to within two.

Staunch team defense and exceptional goalie play from both teams was the story of the remainder of the third quarter, until 3:36 on the clock, when Mark Matthews scored his third of the game, beating Landon Kells on a power bouncer shot to the low-right corner. The Las Vegas Desert Dogs netminder woukd redeem himself during the final seconds of the third, making a spectacular save to deny the Rush. Although playing tough and focused, Las Vegas headed into the fourth victim of a 12-8 deficit.

Landon Kells makes a spectacular save to end the 3rd quarter

Despite a commendable effort on both sides of the ball, the Desert Dogs were a bit outmatched in the final quarter, thanks primarily to Robert Church’s 8 point night on 5 goals and 3 assists and a virtually unheard of dozen (4 goals, 8 assists) by Mark Matthews. It didn’t help matters that the offense wasn’t able to solve Rush netminder Alex Boque often enough. His stellar 40 saves, some performed in highly dramatic fashion, helped seal the Saskatchewan victory and send the Desert Dogs home on the wrong end of a 15-10 decision.
Las Vegas returns to action on their home turf at the Michelob Ultra Arena on Saturday, February 4th as they try to notch their second win of the season. Be sure to visit to purchase tickets and officially licensed team merchandise.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s