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Ottawa Vs Vancouver Preview

03/07/2003, 3:58pm EST
By National Lacrosse League

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The Ottawa Rebel (4-5) hosts the Vancouver Ravens (3-5) in a Northern Division matchup with playoff aspirations and a franchise record on the line. The game is Saturday March 8 at 7 p.m. at Ottawa's Civic Centre. With the other two Northern Division teams, the Toronto Rock and Calgary Roughnecks, riding hot streaks, the Rebel need to put together a winning streak of its own to achieve a goal of making the playoffs.

To achieve this, the Rebel need to win their division or be one of the top three non-division-winning teams. With seven regular season games remaining (three at home and four on the road), the Rebel sit in eighth place overall. Toronto, Colorado and Columbus are currently division leaders, while Calgary, Rochester and Columbus hold the wild-card spots.

Also, the Rebel could make history with a franchise-best fifth victory.

The Rebel has a perfect opponent this weekend against the Ravens.

Vancouver lost a couple of close games recently, and has not been getting the offensive production expected from forward Chris Gill and Peter Morgan.

Instead, veterans Dan Stroup, Chris Prat and rookie Cam Sedgwick have chipped in as unlikely contributors.

Gill finally got hot last game, Feb. 28, in an 18-16 win over the New York Saints. Morgan, a 6-foot-5 forward who has finished his basketball commitment with the Simon Fraser University Clansmen team knocked out of the playoffs at the end of February, may improve his contribution to the team as he is now fully commited to the Ravens.

Netminder Dwight Maetche, 41, has been inconsistent this season, especially on outside shots. Backups Scott Wylie and Nick Patterson are untested.

But the major problem has been team defence. The Ravens' have a slow and aging defensive core, led by former Rebel big-man Bruce Alexander, that will have problems against a run-and-gun Rebel squad.

The transition game will be a deciding factor in the game, especially if Ottawa can use its team speed in a quick, fast-break style game.

With its speed, Ottawa can neutralize University of Denver field lacrosse standouts Matt Dwane and rookie Chad Wittman in the middle of the floor.

The game will be Vancouver's second in as many nights after a contest against the Rock in Toronto on Friday night

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