Rush, Rock regroup and refocus

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:16 AM ET

The quest for a playoff spot makes the contest pivotal.

But the opponent happens to be the most successful National Lacrosse League franchise of the past decade.

And it will be nearly a month before the Edmonton Rush play another home game.

"Our goal right now is to get to .500 and then take it from there," said Rush head coach and general manager Paul Day.

"We look forward to having Toronto come in, being a Canadian team with a great history. The boys always get excited to play against Toronto."

The Toronto Rock have won five of the last seven NLL championships. However this season the team is fighting for a playoff spot themselves.

LOST TO TITANS

They are currently fourth in the East Division and head into tomorrow's game (7 p.m.) at Rexall Place with a 4-5 record, having dropped two straight.

Prior to last week's all-star break, the Rock lost 13-10 to the New York Titans, just the expansion team's second win of the season.

"It wasn't the way we wanted to go into the all-star game, but full value to New York. They played a good game and deserved to win," said Rock head coach Glenn Clark. "But we regrouped and we're excited to get this second half underway.

"The approach remains the same. You plan specifically for the opponent and that's what we're doing for Edmonton."

ONLY MEETING

Tomorrow's game is the only meeting of the season between the two, barring a trip to the final by both.

Last year the Rock won both encounters between the two, 14-8 in Toronto and 13-11 in Edmonton.

"Going into (tomorrow night's) game, it's equally important for both teams," Clark said. "That's the kind of excitement that you want. There is a lot riding on this game."

The Rush lost 11-9 to the San Jose Stealth prior to the all-star break.

"For us, after a couple of tough travel weekends schedule-wise, it was a good time to at least take one week off to decompress and relax," Day said. "The majority of the guys are working a lot and travelling a lot. It was a good time for us to refocus, re-energize and regroup.

The Rush are tied with the Stealth for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division.

Both teams sport a 3-5 record. The Rush are 3-3 at Rexall Place.

"We want to be better than .500 at home this year," Day said. "We're way ahead of last year, but we're not satisfied with where we are right now."

After tomorrow the Rush will play six straight on the road, including two in San Jose against the Stealth. Edmonton will host the Calgary Roughnecks in their last game of the regular season.

"With Toronto coming in it's going to be an exciting night," Day said. "But we also have to make sure we excite the fans and give them a good game because we want to make sure they're back for that all important Calgary game at the end of the year."


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