Rush-ian roulette for playoff spot

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:32 AM ET

The team's destiny is in their hands.

A post-season berth within their reach.

But in order for the Edmonton Rush to qualify for the National Lacrosse League playoffs, they'll need to do something they haven't done all year - win consecutive games.

"We went into the second half believing we could win every game," said Rush head coach and general manager Paul Day. "Last week in New York, we were up by one with 40 seconds left and we could have won that game. We beat Chicago, we've beat Toronto, so we feel down the stretch here we can win every game and there's no reason we can't."

With four games left in the regular season the Rush find themselves a game behind the San Jose Stealth and a game and a half behind the Calgary Roughnecks for the final two playoff spots in the West Division.

This weekend the Rush face both teams in critical back-to-back encounters, travelling to face the Roughnecks tomorrow and the Stealth Saturday.

"Obviously going into Calgary is always a big game for us," Day said. "It's always kind of a playoff rivalry to start with, even early in the season when we played them, there was a playoff atmosphere to it.

"We had a great weekend on the road in the East, unfortunately we lost in New York. Then we were able to win in Chicago. We had six very, very good quarters, probably our best of the year. So we're looking forward to going into Calgary and staying in the race."

Last week the Rush managed to stay within striking distance of both the Roughnecks and Stealth by splitting their pair of road games in New York and Chicago.

Heading into that weekend the Rush felt they needed to win both to stay in contact but they got some help with the Roughnecks losing the first game of a home-and-home encounter with the Portland LumberJax and the Stealth falling to Arizona.

SITTING FIFTH

Heading into this weekend, the Roughnecks are in third place with a 7-6 record, the Stealth are fourth at 6-6 and the Rush are fifth at 5-7.

"There is no question this is a big game for both teams," said Roughnecks head coach Jeff Dowling. "We have one win against Edmonton so far this season, so if we win this one we would get the tie-breaker and would get a playoff spot."

The Rush hosted the Roughnecks in the second week of the season, losing 13-12 at Rexall Place.

Last week after falling to Portland 13-12 in the first game of their home-and-home, the Roughnecks returned to Calgary and hammered the LumberJax 21-11 the following night.

The Rush, meanwhile, lost 11-10 to the New York Titans last week, conceding two goals in the final 40 seconds of the contest. They then managed to hold off the Chicago Shamrox 8-6 the following afternoon.

The Rush have been unable to put together consecutive wins since joining the league last year.

If they manage to win their four remaining games this season, they'll make the playoffs. However if they lose both this weekend, their post-season hopes will be dashed.

'A GOOD 60 MINUTES'

"I think it's a matter of putting a good 60 minutes together," said Day. "On the weekend we were very good for 45-50 minutes of each game, but we haven't been able to put a full night in.

"Obviously the Toronto game earlier this year (12-9 win) was our best 60-minute effort of the year. That's what it's going to take to win two in a row and hopefully we can get a victory."


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