With 104 regular season games completed and four playoff contests in the history books, the NLL is set to crown its next League Champion this Saturday night in Albany when the No. 1 Attack squares off with the No. 2 Rock at 8:15 p.m. inside the 'Wolf Den' (Pepsi Arena).
For the Rock, the game will mark their fourth consecutive appearance in the Champions Cup Final, however, their first away from home turf. After receiving a bye in the semi-finals with an 11-5 record, the team hosted the Washington Power last Friday evening at the Air Canada Centre. In what was a grueling match straight to the bitter end, the Rock managed to squeeze out a 12-11 double overtime victory over the Power. With the goal, the Rock secured a chance to officially 'reclaim what it theirs.'
After finishing with a 5-9 record last season, it looked as though the Attack would be in for a long year; however, that proved not to be the case. The Attack not only finished their regular season with a League-best record of 14-2, but also reached the NLL's second season for the first time in franchise history. Similar to Toronto, the club received a bye in the first round before hosting the Rochester Knighthawks last Saturday night. After dropping its only two games this season to Rochester, the Attack held the K-Hawks to just ten goals on the evening while putting up fourteen of their own for the victory to advance to the finals.
So it all comes down to the Champions Cup Final-the Albany Attack hosting the Toronto Rock on Saturday.
Saturday April 13, 2002 #2 Toronto Rock at #1 Albany Attack, Pepsi Arena, Gametime 8:15pm
TV: CNN/SI, Sportsnet
Record: Toronto (11-5, 1st NLL Northern Division); Albany (14-2, 1st NLL Central Division)
Key Players for Toronto: Forward Colin Doyle (12th in NLL scoring with 80 points); Goaltender Bob Watson (1st in NLL Goals Against with an 11.54 average); Forward Blaine Manning (1st in team assists with 50)
Head Coach: Les Bartley
Key Players for Albany: Forward Josh Sanderson (4th in NLL scoring with 103 points); Forward Gary Rosyski (9th in NLL scoring with 85 points); Goaltender Rob Blasdell (2nd in NLL Save Percentage with 0.775)
Head Coach: Bob McMahon
Notable: Toronto had the highest rated defense allowing a League-low 176 goals against: Albany was third best in goals scored with an average of 15.6 goals per game: Both the Attack and Rock rank first and second respectively in NLL Penalty Killing units with a stoppage rate of 58.2 and 57.9 respectively.
Last Meeting: First meeting this season
Tickets: At Pepsi Arena Box Office, through Ticketmaster Charge-by-Phone at (518) 476-1000 and online at www.Ticketmaster.com