Rested Rock in clash with Titans

RYAN WOLSTAT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:40 AM ET

The National Lacrosse League's schedule makers have given the Toronto Rock a number of gifts this season -- tonight's game against the New York Titans marks the third time the team has had two weeks between games.

Due to last fall's labour acrimony, the Rock is hosting New York for the second time this season, instead of travelling to the Big Apple.

When the league "cancelled" the season last October, before later reviving it, the Titans gave up many of their home dates, forcing a road-heavy schedule and an extra home game for the Rock.

To the credit of head coach Adam Mueller, New York has been remarkably competitive, winning four times, despite playing seven of its first nine games away from home.

The team also blew what looked like a sure win in a 14-10 loss here in January.

On that night, the Titans' vaunted offence strangely disappeared, as the team wasted an 8-3 halftime lead while scoring only twice in the final two quarters.

Mueller knows his squad will be in tough again tonight.

"(The Air Canada Centre's) the toughest building in this league to play in," he said.

"There's always a lot of fans there (and) the Rock seems to really feed off their energy.

"This is a huge one for us. We have a chance to get to .500, and have a shot at making a run for the p layoffs."

While Rock coach Glenn Clark conceded the snow-related cancellation of last week's game against the Philadelphia Wings gave veterans such as Jim Veltman a chance to heal from nagging injuries, by no means is he expecting a cakewalk tonight against a team the Rock were beaten by twice last season.

"We're in a similar position (as the Titans)," Clark said.

"We're right in the mix of being in or out of the playoffs."

Indeed, while the Rock currently holds the division's final post-season spot, defending champion Rochester is only a game back and the Titans sit 11/2 games behind.

Now halfway through his final season, Veltman will captain the East's all-star squad Sunday in Edmonton, an honour Clark thought was well-deserved.


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