Black Wolves play at Saskatchewan on Saturday night
New England Black Wolves coach Glenn Clark calls last week's 21-12 home loss to Georgia "a runaway train."
Now the Wolves are hoping their National Lacrosse League playoff hopes don't take a similar left-hand turn.
New England is 7-8 heading into Saturday's game against another first-place team in Saskatchewan (10-4). Georgia, also 10-4, is in first place in the East Division, while Saskatchewan commands the West. In addition, the two-time defending Champions Cup-winning Rush are 7-0 this season at the SaskTel Centre, where the game will begin at 8:30 p.m.
New England currently holds the lead for the third and final playoff spot in the East by a game and a half over Rochester with three games to play.
"We probably got it close in the third quarter there where we closed the gap to a manageable number, but the entirety of the game we weren't as good as we needed to be," Clark said of last week's loss, after which he called the Wolves' performance "embarrassing."
"Now we get an opportunity to bounce back against an equally tough team. ... We had practice (Tuesday) night and guys understand what's required of them. We'll see how that translates going into this weekend. Throwing in the towel's not an option. We're not doing that; we're not wired that way. You do what you do every week, you start building back up."
Clark said he started communicating with players on Sunday following the Friday loss at Mohegan Sun.
"We were purposeful and professional," Clark said of the early-week practice. "We've nowhere to hide. Not showing up and not performing is not in our DNA."
Following the game against Saskatchewan, the Wolves finish the season with games at Rochester (5-9) on April 22 and at home against Vancouver (6-9) on April 29.
New England is paced by Kevin Crowley with 36 goals and 36 assists and by points-leader Shawn Evans with 32 goals and 53 assists. Evans needs just eight points to get to 1,000 for his career, making him only the eighth player in NLL history to reach that milestone.
Saskatchewan, coming off a 16-12 win last week over Vancouver, has already clinched a playoff berth. The Rush are led by Mark Matthews, who has 31 goals and a league-leading 64 assists for 95 points.
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