TORONTO – The five-time National Lacrosse League champs need a win on Saturday to guarantee a home playoff spot, in a building where they have had limited success in recent years.
The first home playoff game would be on the weekend of April 21-22. Four teams are fighting for the final three playoff spots in the East, with Buffalo the only team to have clinched entering the final weekend of play. A 9-7 record guarantees Toronto second seed in the East and with it the home game against the third-place team in the East. Buffalo will host the fourth-place team in the East the same weekend.
Toronto has lost all nine regular season meetings in Rochester. The Rock’s lone win in Rochester was in the 2003 championship game.
Even though Toronto has had difficulty in Rochester, the Rock won the last meeting between the two teams on Feb. 10 at the Air Canada Centre by a score of 11-10.
If Toronto is unable to come home with a victory Saturday night, they cannot host a playoff game. The Rock would finish at 8-8 and can still make the playoffs in the following scenarios:
– Philadelphia loses one of its two remaining games (April 14 and 15) to Buffalo. This would leave Philadelphia with a record of 8-8 and Toronto would win the tiebreaker based on head-to-head.
– Philadelphia loses both remaining games to Buffalo. This would leave Philadelphia with a 7-9 record and they would finish below Toronto.
– Minnesota loses to Portland (April 15). This would leave Minnesota with an 8-8 record and Toronto has the tiebreaker with a better record against East division opponents.
– Philadelphia loses only one of its two remaining games and Minnesota loses its remaining games. All three teams (Toronto, Philadelphia and Minnesota) would finish with 8-8 records. Toronto and Minnesota would advance to the post-season with Philadelphia having the worst record of the three teams against division opponents (2-4 entering the weekend). Toronto and Minnesota have 3-2 records against division opponents entering the weekend.
The only way the Rock can miss the playoffs is with a loss in Rochester Saturday, two Philadelphia wins over Buffalo and a Minnesota win over Portland.