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And Then There Was One? (Playoff Spot)

03/19/2002, 11:35am EST
By National Lacrosse League

The NLL?s 2001-2002 regular season officially comes to a close this weekend and with one playoff spot left open, the action will come straight down to the wire in this the League?s busiest weekend of the year.

The Rochester Knighthawks (12-3) make one last attempt to catch Albany for the top spot in the NLL Central Division when they square off against the Columbus Landsharks (5-9) on Friday night at 7:30 pm. at the Nationwide Arena.

The Philadelphia Wings (7-7) and Toronto Rock (10-4) meet for the first of a back-to-back weekend on Friday when they do battle in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre. Philadelphia has its sights set on claiming the last playoff spot and looks to get started on that track with a road win against the Rock. The game will be shown live on CN8 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sportsnet (tape delay). CN8 is a regional cable channel carried throughout much of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the Baltimore Washington DC area.

The Vancouver Ravens (9-6) and Calgary Roughnecks (4-11) complete a home-and-home series on Saturday when the Ravens travel to the Pengrowth Saddledome. Calgary will try and avenge a 17-10 road loss last weekend while the Ravens search for their 10th win of the season before entering the playoffs next weekend. The NLL?s Canadian Game of the Week gets underway at 2:30pm Eastern Time/12:30 p.m. Mountain Time.

The Buffalo Bandits (7-8) look to finish their season with a .500 record when they travel to Washington (9-6) and face-off against the Power on Saturday night. The Power, who have already claimed a berth, will be searching for their 10th victory of the season before getting started on their title run. Game-time for this contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside the Capital Centre.

The New Jersey Storm (3-11) go for their fourth win on Saturday when they host the Columbus Landsharks (5-9) at 7:30 p.m. at the Continental Airlines Arena. The Storm claimed their first victory in franchise history against Columbus on Dec. 1 in Ohio and would like nothing more than to take the season series as well. The Landsharks however will look split the two meetings and pick up a road victory.

The Ottawa Rebel (3-11) invade Long Island and the Nassau Coliseum on Saturday to take on the New York Saints (5-10). Both teams are searching for victories after each defeating New Jersey over the past two weekends. Game-time is set for 7:30 p.m.

The Toronto Rock and Philadelphia Wings do battle once again on Saturday Night, this time in Philadelphia at the First Union Center. The game could prove to be crucial for the Wings playoff hopes depending on Friday?s outcome. The contest, which commences at 8 p.m. has been tapped as the NLL?s United States Game of the Week and will be shown live on both CNN/SI and HDNet.

The Montreal Express (8-7) would like nothing more than to be the second expansion team to earn a playoff bid this season. In order to do so however they must first defeat the League?s top team, the Albany Attack (13-2). The Express will be desperately searching for a win while Albany looks to wrap-up the NLL Central Division crown. The two teams go down for the first draw at 7 p.m. on Sunday evening at the Pepsi Arena.

The last game of the regular season takes place on Sunday night in Ottawa when the New Jersey Storm come into town, when both clubs compete in their second games in as many nights. The Storm hope to split the season series while the Rebel look to end the season on a high note. All the action gets underway at 7 p.m. from the Civic Centre in Ottawa.

Below are this week?s game capsules

Friday March 22 Rochester Knighthawks at Columbus Landsharks, 7:30 p.m., Nationwide Arena
TV: None
Radio: Rochester- WYSL (1040-AM)
Webcast: www.NationalLacrosse.com

Record: Rochester (12-3, 2nd NLL Central Division); Columbus (5-9, 5th NLL Central Division)

Key Players for Rochester: Forward John Grant (3rd in NLL scoring with 98 points); Forward Shawn Williams (12th in NLL scoring with 73 points); Goaltender Pat O?Toole (2nd in NLL Goaltender wins with 11)

Head Coach: Paul Day

Key Players for Columbus: Forward Gewas Schindler (1st in team scoring with 62 points); Forward Kasey Beirnes (2nd in team goals with 28); Forward Kyle Arbuckle (2nd in team assists with 23)

Co-Head Coaches: Wayne Colley and Chris Gallagher

Notable: Rochester is the only team to be undefeated in their respective division play with a 7-0 mark against all Central Division rivals?The Knighthawks are scoring the most amount of goals per game with a 16.3 average

Last Meeting: Jan. 19, 2002 Columbus 9 at Rochester 24

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

Friday March 22 Philadelphia Wings at Toronto Rock, 7:30 p.m., Air Canada Centre
TV: Sportsnet (Tape Delay 10:00 pm); CN8
Radio: Toronto- The Fan (590-AM)
Webcast: www.NationalLacrosse.com

Record: Philadelphia (7-7, 2nd NLL Eastern Division); Toronto (10-4, 1st NLL Northern Division)

Key Players for Philadelphia: Forward Tom Marechek (6th in NLL scoring with 86 points); Forward Kevin Finnegan (11th in NLL scoring with 74 points); Forward Jeff Ratcliffe (1st in team goals with 46)

Head Coach: Adam Mueller

Key Players for Toronto: Forward Colin Doyle (1st in team scoring with 70 points); Forward Blaine Manning (1st in team assists with 42); Goaltender Bob Watson (1st in NLL Goals Against Average with 11.78)

Head Coach: Les Bartley

Notable: Toronto is ranked second in NLL Penalty Killing with a 56.1 percentage

Last Meeting: First meeting this season

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

Saturday March 23 Vancouver Ravens at Calgary Roughnecks, 12:30 p.m. (Mountain Time), Pengrowth Saddledome
TV: Sportsnet
Radio: Vancouver- The Team (1040-AM)
Webcast: www.NationalLacrosse.com
Record: Vancouver (9-6, 2nd NLL Northern Division); Calgary (4-11, 3rd NLL Northern Division)

Key Players for Vancouver: Forward Chris Gill (7th in NLL scoring with 84 points); Goaltender Dwight Maetche (2nd in NLL Goals Against Average with 11.83); Forward Chris Prat (2nd in team scoring with 68 points)

Head Coach: Paul Dal Monte

Key Players for Calgary: Forward Kaleb Toth (Tied for 9th in NLL scoring with 76 points); Forward Ben Prepchuk (Tied for 10th in NLL scoring with 75 points); Forward Chris Panos (13th in NLL scoring with 71 points)

Head Coach: Chris Hall

Notable: Vancouver became the first of four expansion teams this season to clinch a post-season birth in the 2002 NLL Champions Cup Playoff race?The Ravens are allowing the second least amount of goals per game with a 12.1 average

Last Meeting: March 16, 2002 Calgary10 at Vancouver 17

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

Saturday March 23 Buffalo Bandits at Washington Power,
7 p.m., Capital Centre
TV: None
Radio: None
Webcast: www.NationalLacrosse.com

Record: Buffalo (7-8, 4th NLL Central Division); Washington (9-6, 1st NLL Eastern Division)

Key Players for Buffalo: Forward John Tavares (Tied for 10th in NLL scoring with 75 points); Forward Roy Colsey (2nd in team scoring with 70 points); Goaltender Steve Dietrich (3rd in NLL Goals Against Average with 12.35)

Head Coach: Frank Nielsen

Key Players for Washington: Forward Paul Gait (1st in NLL Scoring with 103 points); Forward Gary Gait (2nd in NLL scoring with 100 points); Defense Paul Cantebene (5th in NLL Face-off wins with 162)

Head Coach: Darris Kilgour

Notable: Washington ranks first in NLL Power Plays with a 70.4 percentage?The game marks the final NLL regular season contest for Washington forward Paul Gait

Last Meeting: Nov. 24, 2001 Washington 15 at Buffalo 17

Tickets: At Capital Centre Box Office, through Charge-by-Phone at (866) 769-3752 and online at www.Ticketmaster.com

Saturday March 23 Columbus Landsharks at New Jersey Storm, 7:30 p.m., Continental Airlines Arena
TV: None
Radio: New Jersey- JukeBox Radio (103.1-FM)
Webcast: www.NationalLacrosse.com

Record: Columbus (5-9, 5th NLL Central Division); New Jersey (3-11, 4th NLL Eastern Division)

Key Players for Columbus: Forward Gewas Schindler (1st in team scoring with 62 points); Forward Kasey Beirnes (2nd in team goals with 28); Forward Kyle Arbuckle (2nd in team assists with 23)

Co-Head Coaches: Wayne Colley and Chris Gallagher

Key Players for New Jersey: Forward Cam Bomberry (1st in team scoring with 42 points); Forward Matt Panetta (1st in team goals with 21); Defense Jamie Hanford (1st in NLL Face-off wins with 202)

Head Coach: Jim Brady

Notable: New Jersey Storm Inaugural Pins will be given to the first 3,000 fans in attendance

Last Meeting: Dec. 1, 2001 New Jersey 13 at Columbus 12

Tickets: At Continental Airlines Arena Box Office, through Ticketmaster Charge-by-Phone at (201) 507-8900 and online at www.Ticketmaster.com

Saturday March 23 Ottawa Rebel at New York Saints, 7:30 pm., Nassau Coliseum
TV: None
Radio: None
Webcast: www.NationalLacrosse.com

Record: Ottawa (3-11, 4th NLL Northern Division); New York (5-10, 3rd NLL Eastern Division)

Key Players for Ottawa: Forward Mike Benedict (1st in team scoring with 70 points); Forward Chris Konopliff (2nd in team scoring 65 points); Forward Ryan Painter (1st in team goals with 36)

Head Coach: Lindsay Sanderson

Key Players for New York: Forward Gavin Prout (Tied for 9th in NLL scoring with 76 points); Forward Chris Driscoll (2nd in team scoring with 65 points); Forward Rusty Kruger (1st in team goals with 28)

Head Coach: Sal LoCascio

Notable: Ottawa makes their second trip to the Tri-State Area in less than one week

Last Meeting: First meeting this season

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

Saturday March 23 Toronto Rock at Philadelphia Wings, 8 p.m., First Union Center
TV: CNN/SI; HDNet
Radio: Toronto- The Fan (590-AM)
Webcast: www.NationalLacrosse.com

Record: Toronto (10-4, 1st NLL Northern Division); Philadelphia (7-7, 2nd NLL Eastern Division);

Key Players for Toronto: Forward Colin Doyle (1st in team scoring with 70 points); Forward Blaine Manning (1st in team assists with 42); Goaltender Bob Watson (1st in NLL Goals Against Average with 11.78)

Head Coach: Les Bartley

Key Players for Philadelphia: Forward Tom Marechek (6th in NLL scoring with 86 points); Forward Kevin Finnegan (11th in NLL scoring with 74 points); Forward Jeff Ratcliffe (1st in team goals with 46)

Head Coach: Adam Mueller

Notable: Toronto and Philadelphia rank first and second respectively in NLL Average Attendance

Last Meeting: See Above

Tickets: At First Union Center Box Office, through Charge-by-Phone at (215) 389-9571 and online at Ticketmaster.com

Sunday March 24 Montreal Express at Albany Attack, 7 p.m., Pepsi Arena
TV: Time Warner Cable Channel 9 (Tape Delay Tuesday 8 p.m. & Thursday 8 p.m.)
Radio: None
Webcast: www.NationalLacrosse.com

Record: Montreal (8-7, 3rd NLL Central Division); Albany (13-2, 1st NLL Central Division)

Key Players for Montreal: Forward Tracey Kelusky (5th in NLL scoring with 89 points); Forward Ted Dowling (Tied for 8th in NLL scoring with 82 points); Defense Bruce Codd (1st in NLL loose balls with 187)

Head Coach: Terry Sanderson

Key Players for Albany: Forward Josh Sanderson (4th in NLL scoring with 94 points); Forward Gary Rosyski (Tied for 8th in NLL scoring with 82 points); Goaltender Rob Blasdell (4th in NLL Goals Against Average with 12.42)

Head Coach: Bob McMahon

Notable: Albany ranks first in NLL Penalty Killing with a 57.4 percentage?Montreal ranks second in NLL Power Plays with a 59.6 percentage

Last Meeting: March 15 2002, Albany 14 at Montreal 13

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

Sunday March 24 New Jersey Storm at Ottawa Rebel, 7 p.m., Civic Centre
TV: The Score
Radio: New Jersey- JukeBox Radio (103.1-FM)
Webcast: www.NationalLacrosse.com

Record: New Jersey (3-11, 4th NLL Eastern Division); Ottawa (3-11, 4th NLL Northern Division)

Key Players for New Jersey: Forward Cam Bomberry (1st in team scoring with 42 points); Forward Matt Panetta (1st in team goals with 21); Defense Jamie Hanford (1st in NLL Face-off wins with 202)

Head Coach: Jim Brady

Key Players for Ottawa: Forward Mike Benedict (1st in team scoring with 70 points); Forward Chris Konopliff (2nd in team scoring 65 points); Forward Ryan Painter (1st in team goals with 36)

Head Coach: Lindsay Sanderson

Notable: New Jersey ranks third in NLL Penalty Killing with a 52.4 percentage?Ottawa ranks fourth in NLL Power Plays with a 55.3 percentage

Last Meeting: March 16, 2002 Ottawa 12 at New Jersey 10

Tickets: At the Civic Centre Box Office, through Charge-By-Phone at (613) 231-5608 ext. 224 and online at Ticketmaster.com

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