Rock set to renew hostilities with Roughnecks

RYAN WOLSTAT, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 10:35 AM ET

It's only fitting that on Super Bowl Sunday, one of the National Lacrosse League's biggest rivalries will be renewed as the Rock are in Calgary to take on the Roughnecks.

Coming into the season, many pundits predicted that Calgary, the 2004 league champions, would be the class of the NLL's West Division, while the Rock, winners of the other three championships since 2002, would run away with the East. However, heading into today's contest, the Roughnecks are just 3-2 and the Rock is a woeful 1-4.

Earlier this week though, Calgary head coach Chris Hall said his team is playing well and cautioned that it would be foolish to judge the Rock by looking at the standings.

"We're preparing to play a team that we think is one of the cream of the crop in this league," Hall said. "We don't really pay attention to the record they have so far when we understand the (calibre of opponents) they have been facing."

NO LOVE LOST

The two teams are very familiar with each other and they haven't been known to get along well on the floor. The Rock is 7-2 all-time versus Calgary, including 2-1 last season. Two of those games were brawl-filled affairs and normally mild-mannered Rock captain, Jim Veltman, even dropped his gloves in one tilt last April.

Rock coach/general manager Terry Sanderson said he wouldn't be surprised to see the rough stuff continue today. "There's not a lot of love lost between the two teams," he said. "First and foremost in our mind is to go out there and get two points, (but) let's not kid anybody. I don't think we like one another too much and sometimes boys are boys."

The Rock will welcome defenceman Brad MacDonald back after he missed a pair of games with a hand injury. MacDonald, acquired by Toronto on draft day after two seasons in Calgary, said the game would be the Rock's biggest test of the season.

"It's two class teams that, despite their records, are two of the best in the league," MacDonald said. "It's a must win."


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