Rock coach not picking poison

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

No one needs to remind Terry Sanderson there is no cheering in the press box. The Toronto Rock general manager/coach insists he has no rooting interest tonight (8 p.m.) when the Buffalo Bandits (11-5) play host to the Rochester Knighthawks (10-6) in the National Lacrosse League's East Division semi-final.

The winner will face the Rock (12-4) in the East final Friday at the Air Canada Centre and Sanderson couldn't care less whether it's Buffalo or Rochester providing the opposition.

"It's 1 and 1A," said Sanderson, who will attend the game in Buffalo tonight. "We had good competitive games with both clubs. I wouldn't say we'd rather face one club over the other."

The Rock was 2-1 against the Bandits and 1-2 against the Knighthawks this season. But the visiting Bandits hammered the Rock 19-10 in the East final last season.

"It's going to be a hell of a game (tonight)," Sanderson said. "They both have superstars in the lineup in (Buffalo's John) Tavares and (Rochester's John) Grant and their goaltending is very solid."

In fact, Buffalo netminder Steve Dietrich and Rochester counterpart Pat O'Toole are first and second, respectively in the NLL goalie rankings.

However, Both teams have spotty playoff resumes. The Hawks have not won a championship under coach Paul Day, who is 75-39 in eight regular seasons.

"We've always had a very, very good team in Rochester," O'Toole told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. "We've had very good years. Our team on paper this year, again, we should have a good chance of winning this thing."

Buffalo, meanwhile, is seeking its first NLL title since 1996 when ex-Rock GM/coach Les Bartley coached the Bandits.


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