Will Rush Swarm in?

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:27 AM ET

They're down to their final life.

For all the ups and downs the Edmonton Rush have gone through this season, they still have a chance to qualify for the National Lacrosse League playoffs heading into their last game of the year.

Tonight the Rush will close out their regular season in Denver against the Colorado Mammoth (7 p.m.) at the Pepsi Center.

A Rush win combined with a loss by the Minnesota Swarm at home tomorrow against the New York Titans would give the Rush its first-ever playoff berth.

"We feel very fortunate to be playing our last game of the regular season with a chance to make the playoffs," said Rush head coach and general manager Bob Hamley. "In the last three or four weeks we've been pretty good.

"We've had a lot of games that could have gone either way.

"It's a real tribute to the guys who have been playing the last three weeks and hopefully we can come up with that effort again (tonight)."

The Rush head into the contest having dropped a 14-13 decision to the Calgary Roughnecks last week in their home finale.

Despite the loss, the Rush stayed within a win of the Mammoth and the Swarm in the standings. If all three teams finish the season with a 6-10 record, the Rush would win the three-way tiebreaker, based on head-to-head records between the three.

This is the Rush's third meeting of the season against the Mammoth, winning the previous two by a total of three goals. The win in Colorado was the only road win for the Rush this season.

"It was actually the first time the Edmonton Rush had ever beaten the Colorado Mammoth as well," said Hamley. "It's a different time of the year but that's the one thing we can take from that first game, is confidence. We know we can win there. We'll try to use that to our advantage.

"It's so close in this league, you have to limit your mistakes. We made a few mistakes on Saturday against Calgary and we have to cut down on a few of those. We have to try and get some shots past their goaltender and hopefully Chris Levis will have a great game for us as well."

The Rush will need another strong performance from their goaltender, being the lowest-scoring team in the league.

"We've had some really bad fourth quarters where we've been limited to one or two goals or shutout all together," Hamley said.

"We have to get better as an offensive group. I'm pretty happy with our goaltending and defence - I think we can match up with anybody in our league. It's the offence that has been our problem . In the five games that we've won, we've been able to gain some confidence and score some goals."

The Mammoth have lost their last four games, but with a win, they clinch the final playoff spot regardless of what happens with Minnesota.

"Going into this weekend, it's do our die and fortunately for us we have tended to play a little better when our backs have been to the wall, so we're looking forward to this weekend," said Mammoth head coach Bob McMahon.

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


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