Rebel is shooting to go out in style

TODD SAELHOF -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

It\'s a chance to stake the team\'s best-ever season, a chance to redeem itself after arguably its worst performance in the three-year history of the franchise and maybe even a chance to play spoiler.

But most of all, it\'s a chance to leave Ottawa on a high note.

With ownership seeking to move and/or sell the team in the off-season, the Rebel\'s final regular-season game against the Columbus Landsharks today marks one last hurrah for Ottawa in the National Lacrosse League.

\"First and foremost, a win sure as hell would be nice,\" said Rebel coach Terry Sanderson. \"We have enough respect for ourselves that we\'re not going to lie down.\"

Especially, believes the no-nonsense coach, after the Rebel\'s last debacle.

DREADFUL LOSS

That was a dreadful 26-16 loss 13 days ago to the host Calgary Roughnecks, after which Sanderson spewed obscenities about his charges\' lack of effort and questioned their professionalism. The 26 goals were the most scored against the Rebel during its three-year history.

\"If they\'re the group of guys I think they are, we\'ll rebound and give Columbus a battle,\" Sanderson said. \"If the guys have the character, which I think they do, we should rebound.\"

A bounce back for a win would give the Rebel (4-11) the most victories in franchise history.

The Rebel, who were previously the Syracuse Smash and suffered two-, three- and one-win seasons, posted a 1-13 record in the inaugural season here and a 4-12 campaign last year.

\'SHARKS IN HUNT

Meanwhile, the Landsharks (7-8) have already established their best season to put themselves in a position to reel in their first playoff berth.

The \'Sharks, who finished their previous seasons with 3-11 and 5-11 records, need weekend losses by the Roughnecks (8-7), Albany Attack (7-8) and Colorado Mammoth (8-7). All three play teams with over .500 records, making it possible.

And, of course, the \'Sharks also need to win today\'s 4 p.m. matinee at the Civic Centre to land the wild-card berth.

\"After our good (5-1) start, certainly we\'re disappointed with the way we\'ve finished (2-7),\" said \'Sharks coach Bob Hamley. \"But we still have that shot to go to the playoffs.\"

That\'s more than the Rebel can say. After a 4-4 start, seven straight losses have dropped the club from a similar position as its similar counterparts.

\"We are comparable,\" agreed Sanderson, likening his own squad to the \'Sharks. \"Probably the biggest (comparison) is that we\'re both young, and I know there\'s better days ahead.\"

For the Rebel, it just won\'t be in Ottawa.

AT A GLANCE

- Today\'s game: Landsharks (7-8, 4th in Central Division) vs. Rebel (4-11, 4th in Northern Division)

- Game time: 4 p.m. at the Civic Centre

- Head-to-head: Landsharks lead season series 1-0 after 14-13 win Jan. 6 in Columbus; lead all-time series 4-0

- Landsharks leaders: Pat Maddalena (35 goals), Kasey Beirnes (32 assists), Maddalena (64 points)

- Rebel leaders: Mat Giles (32 goals), Jason Clark (25 assists), Giles (55 points)

- Goalies: Columbus\' Mike Miron (15 GP, 6-7, 14.70 GAA, .684 save %) vs. Ottawa\'s Matt Disher (14 GP, 4-8, 11.93 GAA, .778 save %)


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