Saskatchewan Rush win lacrosse championship series with last-second goal

The Saskatchewan Rush have won the 2016 championship of the National Lacrosse League with an exciting 11-10 victory over the Buffalo Bandits.

Exciting finish to successful season in new home

An enthusiastic hometown crowd cheers as the Saskatchewan Rush win the 2016 National Lacrosse League championship. (CBC)

Saskatoon's newest professional sports franchise, the Saskatchewan Rush of the National Lacrosse League (NLL), have won the 2016 league championship with an exciting 11-10 victory over the Buffalo Bandits.

The Rush scored the game winner with 12 seconds left in regulation play.

The Rush and the Bandits played Game 2 of their best-of-three series for the Champion's Cup Saturday night at SaskTel Centre.

The Bandits battled hard and had many leads through the game, but the Rush answered the Bandits' powerful play with some spectacular goals to triumph.

"You couldn't ask for a tougher two game series," said Rush head coach Derek Keenan after the game.

"Tonight, again similar to game one, could have gone either way. We made plays down the stretch again."

Cornwall scores the winner

Rush defender Jeff Cornwall scored the championship winning goal. Despite the pressure of the moment, Cornwall said he felt prepared.

"The ball went wide and I had a chance to run onto it. Ultimately, that's something I practice quite often and when I had the chance in front of me, I knew exactly what I wanted to do."

Cornwall, who used to play for Buffalo, was especially proud of the effort shown by his teammates.

"I wanted to come up big for my teammates because they were huge. That was one of our stronger games in refocusing on the defensive end."

Bold awarded MVP

Rush goalie Aaron Bold was named the Champion's Cup MVP. The 31-year-old also won a championship last year in Edmonton, where the Rush used to call to home.

Winning, explained Bold after the game, always stays fresh.

"It's the same feeling. It doesn't get old. I think as soon as you get comfortable with it, it's going to escape you."

The victory marks the perfect end to a fairytale first season for the Rush in Saskatoon. The team became a provincial hit with sold-out crowds packing SaskTel Centre and raving about the electric atmosphere.

For Bold, winning the title in front of a home crowd was special.

"It's great to have all these fans that love the sport, even though some don't really realize what's going on sometimes. But as long as they're loud and cheer for us, we're good."

Saskatchewan Rush players celebrate their 2016 championship win Saturday in Saskatoon. (James Hopkin/CBC)

Successful move from Edmonton

The Rush have been the success story of the year in the NLL after steadily increasing their at-home attendance figures during their inaugural season in their new home, Saskatoon.

During their last season in Alberta as the Edmonton Rush, the club won the 2015 league championship. The franchise relocated after the end of that season.

According to a league news release when the move was announced, the team was unable to get a long-term option with an Edmonton arena. Owner Bruce Urban established the franchise in 2005.

"Urban was committed to building professional lacrosse, but without the ability to secure a long-term arena option, the only choice remaining was to relocate," the league said.

Their new home, the SaskTel Centre, has a seating capacity of 15,100 for lacrosse fans.