Rock in hard place for playoffs

RYAN WOLSTAT -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:00 AM ET

A familiar obstacle awaits the Toronto Rock tonight.

For the second season in a row, the National Lacrosse League team must get by the Rochester Knighthawks at Blue Cross Arena if it wants to advance to the East final and make up for the worst regular season in franchise history.

The Rock, 6-8 this year, has won only once in its history in Rochester -- the 2003 NLL championship game -- and must find a way to deal with a fearsome

Knighthawks squad that finished 14-2 (8-0 at home) and led the league in wins, goals, power-play goals and short-handed goals.

MISMATCH

On paper, the game seems like a colossal mismatch, but former Rock coach and current Rochester bench boss Ed Comeau is wary of counting out the five-time NLL champions.

"They have the same chance as any of the other seven teams to win," he said.

"I have a lot of respect for their coaching staff and (goalie Bob) Watson is always capable of putting up a great game between the pipes."

Watson, second in the league in save percentage, did just that back in the 2003 title match, holding Rochester to six goals.

That isn't likely to happen tonight though, with three-time goal scoring champ John Grant playing some of the best lacrosse of his life.

BIG YEAR

Grant tallied 51 goals and 111 points -- the fourth best mark in NLL history -- this season and is complemented by an impressive supporting cast that includes Shawn Williams, Scott Evans and Mike Accursi, who finished fifth, eighth and 15th in league scoring respectively.

Toronto fell to Rochester 10-6 and 19-15 in January, but neither team looks the same as it did back then.

"We're a much different team then we were at the start of the year and we're ready to take advantage of the opportunity presented to us," Rock assistant Greg Van Sickle said.


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