Crowded house

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:28 AM ET

The owner has gone out and done his part, digging deep into his pockets to fill the building.

Now it's up to the Rush to produce a result.

With a $1 ticket promotion for tonight's game against the Philadelphia Wings (7:30 p.m.) at Rexall Place, it is expected the Rush will play in front of their biggest crowd in franchise history.

"There is a real buzz in the city this week, thanks to Mr. (Bruce) Urban and his ticket promotion," said Rush head coach and general manager Bob Hamley. "I know the players will be excited and we're really happy that people are going to get a chance to take in a great National Lacrosse League game."

The pressure will be on the Rush to pull out a victory against a tough Philadelphia squad who are in a playoff battle of their own.

Heading into the contest the Rush are half-a-game back of the San Jose Stealth for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division. "We're professionals, there is pressure on us to win every week," Hamley said.

"We feel the pressure. We want to do well for this organization and this city. I think it's going to be exciting that we have the fans there to see what we've done so far this season."

Part of the reason for the ticket promotion is the fact the Rush have failed earn a post-season berth in their first three years of existence. Because of that, they have seen their crowds diminish over time.

This year, the team got off to a rough start, winning just two of their first seven games. But with five of their next six games at home, the team is in a position to make a run at the playoffs.

Last week, they put together a strong performance against the Colorado Mammoth pulling out a 10-9 victory. The only blemish in the win was the difficulty killing penalties. The Mammoth scored four power-play goals in the contest.

"It's an on-going process, we haven't been very good on the PK all year," said Hamley. "Colorado was four-for-seven on the weekend. The good news is that we're not putting ourselves in a lot of short-handed situations, but we recognize that we have to get better at it.

"We want to be aggressive. We think we have the defence to do that. Penalties are going to happen, we just have to get better at it. With more practice time that we're going to get this month-and-a-half, I think it's going to help."

Tonight's game is the second of three straight at home for the Rush, who'll host the Calgary Roughnecks following the all-star break.

The club likes its chances of clinching a playoff spot if they can win the majority of their remaining home games.

"Looking at their team they have a big athletic defence, they have some very skilled guys," said Wings head coach Dave Huntley.

"On the offensive end they have a terrific skill set. On the personnel level, they're solid. They also have two goalies that are capable of that 90% game. Obviously Bob has been successful as a coach everywhere he's gone and we're starting to see that in Edmonton, so we're going to have our hands full."

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


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