2022  t e l u s  cup sydney rush team photo main

Road to the 2022 TELUS Cup: Sydney Rush

Almost three years in the making, the TELUS Cup hosts are going a long way from home to get their pandemic-delayed opportunity to compete for a national championship

Bernadette Larose
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May 3, 2022
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It’s a year later than they had hoped and more than 5,000 kilometres from home, but the Sydney Rush are finally set for the opportunity to play host to the TELUS Cup.

The Rush were originally announced as hosts of the 2021 edition of Canada’s National Men’s U18 Club Championship in July 2019. That tournament was cancelled in February 2021 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Sydney was announced as host of the 2022 event.

In late March, with the pandemic still a concern, the tournament was moved to Okotoks, Alta., closer to Hockey Canada’s home base. But the Rush will still be part of the field as hosts, taking on five regional champions from across Canada.

“The fact that our boys are having an opportunity to play at this level, on this stage, is huge for them and the families, obviously for everybody involved,” says assistant coach Chris MacDonald. “It's a really exciting opportunity for the players.”

With a core built from players from the team that was supposed to host a year ago, plus a crop of new talent, the Rush had an up-and-down regular season; they won exactly half their regular-season games (17 of 34), and had a seven-game win streak in November that almost immediately followed a run of just three win in 12 games through September and October.

Their 17-15-2 record was good enough for fifth in the Nova Scotia U18 Major Hockey League (NSU18MHL) and set up a first-round playoff matchup with the fourth-seeded Cole Harbour Wolfpack. The best-of-five series was all Cole Harbour, which swept the Rush and won all three games by at least three goals.

The 59-day layoff between the end of the NSU18MHL playoffs and the start of the TELUS Cup has given the Rush an opportunity for more preparation, and despite a lack of game action, there’s no shortage of confidence.

“We have the skill, we have the work ethic, we have some size up and down the lineup,” MacDonald says of his team. “We're a pretty well-rounded group that way.”

Up front, the Sydney offence runs through NSU18MHL MVP Logan O'Neil, whose 54 points led the Rush and were good for second in league scoring. On the back end, Preston Pattengale picked up NSU18MHL Top Defenceman honours after averaging more than a point a game to lead all blue-liners. And in goal, Andrew Burke and Lucas Fraser shared the puck-stopping duties, with Fraser finished second in the league with 582 saves.

Sydney opens its TELUS Cup schedule against the Central Region champions, the Mississauga Reps, on May 16.

HOW THEY GOT TO OKOTOKS

Nova Scotia U18 Major Hockey League
Quarterfinal: lost to Cole Harbour Wolfpack 3-0 (2-6, 3-6, 3-8)

REGULAR SEASON

Record: 17-15-2 (5th in NSU18MHL)
Goals for: 119
Goals against: 122
Longest winning streak: 7 (Nov. 6-28)
Top 3 scorers:

- Logan O’Neil – 22G 32A 54P (2nd in NSU18MHL)

- Riley Seymour – 20G 28A 48P (4th in NSU18MHL)

- Alex Christmas – 18G 21A 39P (11th in NSU18MHL)

PLAYOFFS

Record: 0-3
Goals for: 8
Goals against: 20
Top 3 scorers:

- Preston Pattengale (3G 2A 5P)

- Riley Seymour (1G 2A 3P)

- Van Sawlor (1G 2A 3P)

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY

First appearance

PLAYERS TO WATCH

LOGAN O’NEIL
Improvement year over year...Team’s top scorer...League MVP forward

PRESTON PATTENGALE
In the hunt to win scoring race...Played with the Cape Breton Eagles...League MVP defenceman

 

QMJHL DRAFTED PLAYERS

Drew MacIntyre – Shawinigan 2020 (5th round 5, 88th overall)

Alex Christmas – Acadie-Bathurst 2021 (9th round, 160th overall)

Preston Pattengale – Cape Breton 2021 (10th round, 167th overall)

Trey Sturge – Shawinigan 2020 (12th round, 209th overall)

Tyson LeFrense – Cape Breton 2021 (13th round, 221st overall)

Reese Allen – Cape Breton 2020 (13th round, 235th overall)

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

emadziya@hockeycanada.ca 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

ssharkey@hockeycanada.ca

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

jknight@hockeycanada.ca

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