Rock not a lock to make playoffs

RYAN WOLSTAT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:09 AM ET

Win and you're in.

The bumps and bruises collected through 15 hard-fought National Lacrosse League games this season by the Toronto Rock (6-9) have been rendered meaningless. All that now matters for the Rock is a win tonight at the ACC against the New York Titans. (3-12)

The Minnesota Swarm (8-7) defeated the Philadelphia Wings 11-8 on the road last night, clinching third spot in the East and a date with the Buffalo Bandits.

Philadelphia (6-9) takes on the Chicago Shamrox (5-12) tonight in another crucial contest.

A Philly win, coupled with a Rock loss, would result in the five-time NLL champion's missing the post-season for the first time in franchise history.

Since Toronto owns the tiebreaker over the Wings, it would still slip into the playoffs should both teams lose tonight, but Rock coach Glenn Clark undoubtedly would prefer to see his team take care of a tough Titans squad that already upset them 13-10 early last month and boasts three of the league's top-10 scorers.

"We can't get caught up in scoreboard watching," Clark said.

"We need to take care of business."

The best-case scenario for the Rock would have been a Philadelphia win last night since Toronto also has the tiebreaker over the Swarm and would much prefer to take on the Bandits instead of the NLL-leading Rochester Knighthawks (13-2).

SUCCESS IN BUFFALO

The Rock has won only once in its history at Rochester's Blue Cross Arena, but has had considerable success in Buffalo.

The return of defender Dan Ladouceur, one of its most battle-tested veterans, should give the Rock a spark tonight. Ladouceur has missed the club's previous four games.

However, the team's most physical player, Patrick Merrill -- fifth in the league in penalty minutes -- is out with knee and leg problems.

The Rock is coming off of a disastrous weekend that included a 13-11 home loss to the Swarm and a 15-13 defeat in Chicago the following night.


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