Rush host Swarm Sat. in game two of Champion's Cup final.
The possible three-peat is on the line Saturday night at SaskTel Centre as the defending National Lacrosse League champion Saskatchewan Rush host the Georgia Swarm.
The Eastern Conference champion and top scoring team during the regular season opened the best of three Champion’s Cup final with last Sunday’s 18-14 victory over the Rush in Georgia.
Saskatchewan puts a 9-1 home record on the line while playing for its playoff life. Head coach and general manager Derek Keenan thought returning home would give his players an automatic advantage.
“I think so,” said Keenan. The veteran bench boss pointed to their track record.
“I mean, we’ve only lost there once all year and it was a game we really shouldn’t have lost , so we like playing there and we’re going to get the support and the guys will be fired up, but having said that we need to be better.” Keenan said a lack of consistency cost them game one.
Captain Chris Corbeil felt returning home could carry the Rush to victory.
“Luckily we play pretty well there and our record speaks for itself,” said Corbeil who added it was the season opening loss in Georgia that cost the Rush home floor advantage in the championship series.
“It’s interesting, because you look back to the first game of the year (18-10 loss) and that’s what cost us home floor advantage and I think we would feel a lot better if we had two games at home, but I’m really relieved we get to go back there (SaskTel Centre) for game two and feel good about the adjustments we can make and confident we can go back to “Sask” and even this thing up.”
The Rush gave up an 11-7 lead surrendering seven unanswered goals during the game one loss but defender Jeremy Thompson said that won’t affect the team’s mindset heading into game two.
“We’re excited about it, we’re on our home turf and everyone in our locker room has the most confidence in each and every one of the guys. We’re looking forward to getting back (to Saskatoon).”
Thompson will be facing his brothers Jerome, Lyle and Miles who all play for the Swarm, making the championship series a surreal experience.
“When playing against my family and my brothers it’s all about what you put on the floor, what we’re taught and like I said obviously you put your best out there, you can’t control anything after that’” said Thompson who felt playing against his brothers is a thrill.
“Playing against those guys is just a dream come true, you just kind of have to enjoy every moment.”
First face off Saturday is at 7;30 with the Rush Hour pregame show on 98-Cool signing on an hour earlier. A third and deciding game if necessary would be Sunday, June 18 in Duluth, Ga.