Rock not worried about inactivity

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

To advance to its fifth consecutive National Lacrosse League championship game, the Toronto Rock needs to snap a 36-day winless streak.

To be fair, you should know the defending champs have played just one game since beating the Philadelphia Wings 12-9 on March 21 -- a meaningless 13-10 loss on April 13 against its opponent in tomorrow\'s semi-final at the Air Canada Centre, the Colorado Mammoth (10-7).

Nevertheless, that lengthy inactive stretch raises one question: Can the Rock (11-5) shake off the rust against a Mammoth team that has won five games in a row?

\"Last season, we went into the playoffs playing back-to-back (games for the final two weeks of the season),\" said Rock defender Darryl Gibson, whose team lost both games against Colorado this season.

\"But we\'ve been going hard in practice ... and we\'ve got veteran guys.

\"We might be a bit rusty off the hop, but I think once we get going we\'ll be fine.\"

Look at the scenario another way and you can argue that the light schedule works in the Rock\'s favour. Professional lacrosse players understand practice is essential, but that\'s not why they are part of a team.

\"It\'s our first game that means something in five or six weeks and guys are just waiting to explode,\" Rock defender Glenn Clark said. \"Everybody wants to play in big games.\"

The Mammoth has been playing must-win games the past five weeks. Perhaps, mentally, that will take its toll.

And then there is another hurdle for the Mammoth to clear -- a playoff heartbreak skid against Toronto. Playing out of Washington, D.C., as the Power, the Mammoth lost one-goal decisions against the Rock in NLL semi-finals the past two seasons.

\"I wasn\'t with our team for those two losses, but I know our team has a big score to settle,\" said Colorado coach Jamie Batley, whose team has won six of seven games since he took over from Rod Jensen.


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