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Opening Weekend Preview

11/16/2001, 3:10pm EST
By National Lacrosse League

Since the last National Lacrosse League game at the NLL Champions Cup on Apr. 27, 2001 at the Air Canada Centre, both the league as well as the record-high 13 NLL teams have been working hard during the busy off-season. Whether it be signing new players, selling tickets or designing the new game jerseys, everyone has been doing their part to make this NLL season the most successful yet. So when the NLL officially kicks off its 16th season of professional indoor lacrosse at 8:00 pm tonight in Albany, with the Attack hosting the expansion New Jersey Storm, fans can expect to see an only tougher and more exciting league.

Less than 24 hours after the game this evening the weekend action continues across the border and into Canada for the Toronto Rocks home opener against the expansion Vancouver Ravens at the Air Canada Centre at 3:30 pm.

The Ravens will then continue with their inaugural season and play their second game in as many days when they travel to Kanata, Ontario and the Corel Centre for a match-up against the Ottawa Rebel at 3:30pm.

All three of this weekends will be shown live nation wide with the opener being seen on both CNN/SI and HDNet and the two Canadian based games being shown on SportsNet.

Below are this weekends game capsules:

Fri. Nov 16 New Jersey Storm @ Albany Attack 8:00pm, Pepsi Arena

TV: CNN/SI, HDNet

Radio: New Jersey-Jukebox Radio (101.3 FM), Joe Nolan (play-by-play) and Jason Carrier (analyst)

Web Cast: www.NationalLacrosse.com

2000-2001 Record: New Jersey (did not play); Albany (5-9, 7th place)

Key Players for New Jersey (2001 Team): Forward Matt Panetta (New York); Defense Kevin Dance (Rochester-2000); Forward Travis Kilgour (Washington); Goaltender Matt Roik (Toronto)

Head Coach: Jim Hinkson (1st season)

Key Players for Albany: Forward Phil Sanderson (Tied for 3rd in NLL loose balls with 154); Goaltender Rob Blasdell (4th in NLL save percentage with 12.15 GAA); Forward Josh Sanderson (1st in team scoring with 50 points); Defense Cam Woods (Tied for 3rd in NLL loose balls with 154); Forward Gary Rosyski (2nd in team scoring with 46 points)

Head Coach: Bob McMahon (1st season)

Notable: This will be the first ever meeting between the two teams and the Storms inaugural game?Albany went 0-2 in 2001 NLL preseason and New Jersey went 2-1 Albany ranked second in penalty killing last season with a 63.1percentage Storm owner Jayson Williams will be on hand for a post game autograph session on the arena floor.

Tickets: At Pepsi Arena Box Office, through Ticketmaster Charge-by-Phone at (518) 476-1000 and online at www.Ticketmaster.com

Sat Nov 17-Vancouver Ravens @ Toronto Rock 3:30pm, Air Canada Centre

TV: SportsNet

Radio: Vancouver- The Team (1040 AM), Terry Murray (play-by play) and Jeff Gombar (analyst)

Toronto-The Fan (590 AM), Dan Dunleavy (play-by-play) and Blair Campbell (analyst)

Web Cast: www.NationalLacrosse.com

2000-2001 Record: Vancouver (did not play); Toronto (11-3, 1st place)

Key Players for Vancouver (2001 Team): Forward Chris Gill (5th in team scoring for Toronto last season); Goaltender Dwight Maetche (1990 World Champion-Philadelphia); Defense Tyson Leies (formerly a member of both New York and Buffalo)

Head Coach: Paul Dal Monte (1st season)

Key Players for Toronto: Forward Colin Doyle (1st in team scoring with 59 points); Goaltender Bob Watson (1st in NLL save percentage with 8.89 GAA); Forward Kim Squire (2nd in team scoring with 56 points); Forward Jim Veltman (1st in NLL loose balls with 161); Defense Pat Coyle (1st in NLL penalty minutes with 65)

Head Coach: Les Bartley (5th season)

Notable: The Rock ranked 1st in team penalty killing with a 64.1 percentage last season The Rock set an NLL record-high crowd of 19,409 fans during the NLL Champions Cup last year Vancouver went 2-1 in 2001 NLL preseason and Toronto went 3-1 The game will mark the first time in two years that the Rock will not be raising a championship banner in their building, after winning championships in both 1999 and 2000.

Tickets: At Air Canada Centre Box Office, through Ticketmaster Charge-by-Phone at (416) 872-5000 and online at www.Ticketmaster.ca

Sun Nov 18 Vancouver Ravens @ Ottawa Rebel 3:30pm, Corel Centre

TV: SportsNet

Radio: Vancouver- The Team (1040 AM), Terry Murray (play-by play) and Jeff Gombar (analyst)

Web Cast: www.NationalLacrosse.com

2000-2001 Seasons Record: Vancouver (did not play); Ottawa (1-13, 9th place)

Key Players for Vancouver: See Above

Head Coach: Paul Dal Monte (1st season)

Key Players for Ottawa: Forward Kris Konopliff (4th in team scoring with 29 points); Forward Mike Benedict (1st in team scoring for Columbus and tied for 12th in NLL scoring with 57 points last season); Defense Rory Graham (won two world championships with Toronto in 1999 and 2000)

Head Coach: Marty Cooper (1st season)

Notable: The Rebel had the 4th highest league attendance with an average of 8,049 fans Ottawa went 1-0 in 2001 NLL preseason The Ravens will play its first two games within 24 hours of one another Ottawa went 0-7 in home games last season.

Tickets: At Corel Centre Box Office, through Ticketmaster Charge-by-Phone at (613) 755-111 and online at www.Ticketmaster.ca

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