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Division Rivals Battle For Top Spot This Weekend

01/07/2002, 4:40pm EST
By National Lacrosse League

With each of the NLL's thirteen teams having at least one win under their belt and close races forming in each division, the first half of the season has been an exciting one.

On Friday night, the Montreal Express return home to the Molson Centre to face-off against the Columbus Landsharks in a Central Division matchup. Columbus is fresh off a 15-11 victory over Ottawa to claim their first victory of the season, while Montreal tries to regain its hold on first place after not playing in more than three weeks. All the action gets underway at 7:30 p.m.

The Toronto Rock head west on Saturday afternoon to take on the Calgary Roughnecks. The winner will take sole possession of first place in the Northern Division. The game, which starts at 1:30 p.m. (Mountain Time), will be seen live throughout Canada on SportsNet as the NLL Game of the Week.

The New York Saints return home to the Nassau Coliseum on Saturday evening to take on long time rival the Philadelphia Wings at 8pm. The game will be an Eastern Division showdown. New York is currently a half-game behind Washington for first place after defeating Columbus 17-13 two weeks ago. Philadelphia however is looking to return to their winning ways after a two-week layoff.

Fresh off a 22-11 victory over Buffalo last Saturday night, the Rochester Knighthawks travel to Albany on Saturday evening to take on fellow Central Division rival the Attack. Rochester currently occupies the first place spot while Albany sits just a half-game behind them in second. The NLL's Game of the Week will be shown live across the United States on CNN/Si, HDNet as well as on tape delay on Time Warner Cable. In addition the game will also reach out onto the airwaves on both WROW-590 AM in Albany and WYSL-1040-AM in Rochester. The teams kneel down for the opening face-off at 8pm.

The weekend action wraps up on Sunday afternoon at 5pm in Columbus when the Landsharks plays host to the Washington Power. For Columbus it will be their second game of the weekend while Washington looks to increase their first place lead in the Eastern Division.

Below are this week's game capsules.

Fri. Jan 11 Columbus Landsharks at Montreal Express 7:30 p.m., Molson Centre
TV: RDS
Radio: Montreal- The Team (990-AM)
Webcast: www.NationalLacrosse.com

Record: Columbus (1-3, 5th NLL Central Division); Montreal (3-1, 3rd NLL Central Division)

Key Players for Columbus: Forward Gewas Schindler (1st in team scoring with 20 points); Forward Neal Powless (Tied for 1st in team goals with 10); Forward Kasey Beirnes (Tied for 2nd in team scoring with 15 points)

Head Coach: Ron Roy

Key Players for Montreal: Forward Tracey Kelusky (6th in NLL scoring with 35 points); Forward Ted Dowling (5th in NLL goals with 19); Forward Jason Crosbie (2nd in team assists with 12)

Head Coach: Terry Sanderson

Notable: Montreal ranks second in NLL Power Play with an average of 64.9: The Express ranks first in NLL scoring with an average of 21.5 goals per game

Tickets: At Molson Centre Box Office, through Charge-by-Phone at (800) 361-4595 and online at www.Admission.com

Sat. Jan 12 Toronto Rock at Calgary Roughnecks 1:30 p.m., (Mountain Time) Pengrowth Saddledome
TV: SportsNet
Radio: Toronto-The Fan (590-AM)
Webcast: www.NationalLacrosse.com

Record: Toronto (2-2, Tied for 1st NLL Northern Division); Calgary (4-4, Tied for 1st NLL Northern Division)

Key Players for Toronto: Goaltender Bob Watson (1st in NLL goals against average with 10.01); Forward Colin Doyle (1st in team scoring with 19 points); Forward Blaine Manning (1st in team assists with 11)

Head Coach: Les Bartley

Key Players for Calgary: Forward Kaleb Toth (1st in NLL scoring with 57 points); Forward Ben Prepchuk (2nd in NLL scoring with 44 points); Forward Chris Panos (3rd in NLL scoring with 41 points)

Head Coach: Chris Hall

Notable: The winner of this game will claim sole possession of first place: Toronto ranks second in NLL Penalty Killing with an average of 63.6

Tickets: At Pengrowth Saddledome Box Office, through Ticketmaster Charge-by-Phone at (403) 777-0000 and online at www.Ticketmaster.ca

Sat. Jan 12 Philadelphia Wings at New York Saints 8pm, Nassau Coliseum
TV: None
Radio: None
Webcast: www.NationalLacrosse.com

Record: Philadelphia (1-2, 3rd NLL Eastern Division); New York (3-2, 2nd NLL Eastern Division)

Key Players for Philadelphia: Forward Tom Marechek (1st in team scoring with 18 points); Forward Jeff Ratcliffe (1st in team goals with 10); Forward Jason Clarke (2nd in team assists with 10)

Head Coach: Adam Mueller

Key Players for New York: Forward Roy Colsey (Tied for 7th in NLL scoring with 34 points); Forward Gavin Prout (Tied for 11th in NLL scoring with 30 points); Forward Rusty Kruger (2nd in team goals with 12)

Head Coach: Sal LoCascio

Notable: The game marks the return of forward Mark Millon to the Philadelphia line-up: New York ranks third in NLL Penalty Killing with an average of 53.5: Philadelphia ranks fourth in NLL Power Plays with an average of 56.7

Tickets: At Nassau Coliseum Box Office, through Ticketmaster Charge-by-Phone at (516) 888-9000 and online at www.Ticketmaster.com

Sat. Jan 12 Rochester Knighthawks at Albany Attack 8pm, Pepsi Arena
TV: CNN/Si; HDNet; Time Warner Cable- Channel 9 (Tape Delay Jan 15 8pm)
Radio: Rochester- WYSL (1040-AM); Albany- WROW (590-AM)
Webcast: www.NationalLacrosse.com

Record: Rochester (5-1, 1st NLL Central Division); Albany (4-1, 2nd NLL Central Division)

Key Players for Rochester: Forward Derek Malawsky (5th in NLL scoring with 39 points); Forward John Grant (Tied for 7th in NLL scoring with 34 points); Goaltender Pat O'Toole (2nd in NLL goals against average with 12.27)

Head Coach: Paul Day

Key Players for Albany: Goaltender Rob Blasdell (5th in NLL goals against average with 13.42); Forward Josh Sanderson (8th in NLL scoring with 33 points); Forward Gary Rosyski (Tied for 10th in NLL scoring with 31 points)

Head Coach: Bob McMahon

Notable: Albany ranks second in NLL average goals per game with 17.8: Rochester ranks second in NLL goals against with an average of 12.2

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

Sun. Jan 13 Washington Power at Columbus Landsharks 5pm, Nationwide Arena
TV: None
Radio: None
Webcast: www.NationalLacrosse.com

Record: Washington (3-1, 1st NLL Eastern Division); Columbus (1-3, 5th NLL Central Division)

Key Players for Washington: Forward Paul Gait (Tied for 10th in NLL scoring with 31 points); Forward Gary Gait (Tied for 11th in NLL scoring with 30 points); Goaltender Devin Dalep (3rd in NLL goals against average with 12.45)

Head Coach: Darris Kilgour

Key Players for Columbus: Forward Gewas Schindler (1st in team scoring with 20 points); Forward Neal Powless (Tied for 1st in team goals with 10); Forward Kasey Beirnes (Tied for 2nd in team scoring with 15 points)

Head Coach: Ron Roy

Notable: Washington ranks first in NLL Power Plays with an average of 72.0: Washington ranks third in NLL goals against average with 12.3

Tickets: At Nationwide Arena Box Office, through Charge-by-Phone (614) 431-3600 and online at Ticketmaster.com

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