Much has changed in the five months since the Saskatchewan Rush and Georgia Swarm faced off January 7th, with the two teams preparing to face off this afternoon in the National Lacrosse League Final.
In that week one matchup, the Rush were down a number of regulars because of the pre-season dustup with Calgary, and a lack of discipline cost Saskatchewan, allowing 6 powerplay goals in an 18-10 road loss to the Swarm. Since then, both the Rush and Swarm took over their divisions, and now face off with a championship on the line.
Derek Keenan, head coach and GM of the Rush, says one player had mentioned after their win against Colorado in the West Final that they remembered the week one loss. Keenan says they knew they were undisciplined, but, "we just know that, with what's at stake, we are certainly capable of a lot more than what we played down there".
Saskatchewan's defense will have a tough time facing Georgia's offense that had the most goals in the league during the regular season, 35 more than the second-best Rush.
The three-game series will also be a historic one. As soon as the clock starts in game 1, it will be the first time that four brothers play in the same game. Miles, Lyle and Jerome Thompson will suit up for Georgia, while Jeremy Thompson will don Saskatchewan colours. Saskatchewan looks to be the second three-peat champions dating back to when they were in Edmonton in 2015. The previous team to claim the same feat was Rochester from 2012-14. Meanwhile, Georgia is aiming for their first Champions Cup in franchise history.
Game time for the first game of the series is 3 p.m., with Rush Hour on 98 COOL starting at 2 p.m. Game 2 is set for Saturday, June 10 in Saskatoon.