Rock in a hard place to start playoffs

RYAN WOLSTAT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

If the Rock wants to win another Champions Cup, the team will have to come up big at Rochester's Blue Cross Arena, its personal house of horrors.

The Rock fell 10-7 to the Knighthawks there last night, leaving little hope of a home playoff date at the Air Canada Centre and forcing a first-round meeting back in Rochester next Saturday.

The Rock now has lost 10 straight regular-season games in that arena, but did manage to beat the Knighthawks 10-6 there in the 2003 National Lacrosse League championship game.

The Rock never led in yesterday's game, but trailed just 5-3 at the half and tied the game at seven with three goals in a row early in the fourth before the offence went dry.

Despite the loss, Rock coach/general manager Terry Sanderson was mostly happy with his team's performance.

"We actually played pretty good," Sanderson said in a telephone interview. "But we're not going to win many games scoring seven goals."

The Rock was snake-bit on the night.

"We had to have (hit) a half-dozen goal posts," Sanderson added. "But maybe we're saving them all for next week."

Just one season after finishing with a franchise-best 12-4 record, the Rock stumbled to 8-8, the worst mark in team history. The Rock actually has the same record as the Philadelphia Wings and Minnesota Swarm, but by virtue of tie-breaker advantages over both clubs, finds itself third in the East while the Swarm is fourth and Philadelphia is out in the cold.

The division-leading Buffalo Bandits, 11-5, host the Swarm Sunday.

Sanderson is not concerned about having to open the playoffs in Rochester.

"It doesn't matter," he said.

"It's not an issue for us."

Despite the loss, the night was not a total letdown for the Rock. Bob Watson's 52-save effort will give him confidence entering the playoffs following a recent rut, while Josh Sanderson scored six points to edge Rochester's forward John Grant for the league's scoring championship. Grant finishes second with 97 points, one behind Sanderson, while Colin Doyle, last season's NLL MVP and scoring leader, will have to settle for 96 points and a third-place finish.

Terry Sanderson was not overly excited to hear about his son's accomplishment.

"This team has always been about team achievements, not personal achievements," he said.


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