The New Jersey Storm (2-3) look to get back to their winning ways this Saturday when they travel to Ottawa for a 3:30 p.m. EST National Lacrosse League (NLL) showdown against the Rebel (2-3) at the Ottawa Civic Centre.
The Storm, who currently sit in second place in the NLL's Eastern Division behind Colorado, will be out to even up their record at .500 after dropping their last two contests.
Continuing to lead the charge this season for New Jersey has been forward Roy Colsey (14G, 6A) whose 20 points places him amongst the League leaders. Following Colsey in the scoring department are forwards Scott Stewart (8G, 7A) and Mike Benedict (7G, 6A) both of whom have played in four of the five Storm contests this season. Standing in between the pipes for most of this young season has been goalie Derek General whose 142 saves and 35.50 saves per game average also places him amongst the NLL's best.
The Rebel head into the contest after dropping its last game to Toronto (15-6) last Thursday evening. The team is being paced offensively by the stellar play of both forwards Kevin Howard (11G, 7A) and Jason Clark (10G, 7A). On the defensive end of the field, the team is being led by net minder Matt Disher with 125 saves and average of 31.25 stops per game.
Last season, the two clubs split their series season series with each team claiming road victories with Ottawa notching a 12-10 victory on March 16, 2002 and New Jersey scoring the equalizer with a 12-11 overtime win just eight days later in the NLL season finale.
Last year, Ottawa Rebel fans became familiar with the bow-and-arrow goal celebration of then-Captain Mike Benedict Jr.
Benedict Jr. led Ottawa in points (82) and assists (47) and was a fan favourite in the nation's capital.
Due to construction work commitments in the New Jersey area, Benedict Jr. opted to play for the Storm. He leads the team in assists (10) is third in team-points (14). The Storm has only lost once on the road (14-9 to the Calgary Roughnecks).
They're coming off a 10-4 loss to Buffalo from Jan. 19. No team in New Jersey's Eastern Division is over .500. The Storm could emerge as the division champions. Led by Benedict Jr., the Storm has a balanced team.
Goalkeeper Matt Roik was nothing short of awesome in the summer season as starting netminder with the Victoria Shamrocks that lost in a close seventh and deciding game to Ottawa Coach Terry Sanderson's Brampton Excelsiors.
Unfortunately, he's injured. Fortunately for the Storm, they have an equally talented backup, Derek General, who has helped the squad with experience in both the NLL and the Canadian summer league.
Many of the Storms' players are products of the U.S. field lacrosse system and will challenge Ottawa's defence with the ability to switch hands and run a variety of offensive systems.
New Jersey's left-handed shooters are dangerous, featuring talented two-way players like Benedict Jr. and Cam Bomberry. Right-handed shooters Roy Colsey (3rd in the league in goals), Bobby Horsey and Dallas Squire are dangerous offensive threats.
Newly acquired forward Mike Ladouceur, who was traded by Albany for forward Brian Bendig earlier this week, will see his first action of the season.
Bendig has since been traded by Albany to the New York Saints along with Josh Coffman, John Madigan, Doug Shanahan and a first-round pick in 2003 for forward Rusty Kruger and tough-guy defenceman Tim O'Brien.
Two other former Rebel players - Doug Noganash, a tough and hard-hitting defender, and defender Paul Talmo - join Benedict Jr. and the Storm in their return to Ottawa.
Look for yet another Orangeville-Sanderson, goalkeeper Chris, who will likely travel with the team as backup. If not, female keeper Ginny Capicchioni may make the trip. She is the first female draft pick in professional lacrosse history.
The Rebel-Storm game begins at 3:30 p.m. Saturday Feb. 1 at Ottawa's Civic Centre arena on Bank Street.