Champions Cup Preview

New England Black Wolves coach Glenn Clark was a part of five National Lacrosse League championships from 1999-2005 as a member of the Toronto Rock.

With Game 1 of the Champion’s Cup between Rochester and Saskatchewan scheduled for Saturday night, Glenn shared thoughts on how the teams match up.

Playing in the Cup final is what we all strive for. The key for both these teams is to treat it with excitement and energy. I always found as a player, the best way to deal with the pressures and expectations in these situations is to focus on the role you play within the group. There are a lot of different skills that players bring to the team and each has value. Focusing on your role within your team helps you channel your energy and avoid worrying about things that are out of your control.  

Rochester Defense vs Saskatchewan offense:
The Rush offense plays with a tremendous amount of speed and are very active without the ball. Rochester will need to be disciplined in their defensive sets and communicate constantly to deal with the on and off ball activity.

Saskatchewan Defense vs Rochester Offense:
Rochester has some very dynamic players that can break you down one-on-one, but they are also very good at finding players off ball. The Rush defense makes you play fast and tries to force you into mistakes. Rochester will need to have good ball movement and support for their teammates that are going to be put on the run by the athletic Rush defenders.

Saskatchewan coach Derek Keenan and Rochester coach Mike Hasen are both well prepared and excellent coaches. Most of their work has been done leading up to this point. They will have some specific opponent-based schemes that they will try to exploit, but for the most part, they will play to their strengths and principles.

Both teams have an abundance of experience throughout their lineup. With the match up being as close as it is, I think it’s going to be the goaltender battle that could be the X Factor. Both are excellent and experienced as well as teammates in the summer. Vinc has had more success at the NLL level and Kirk has been a top goalie for several years. I’m interested in watching this play itself out. Either way, I think it’ll be an excellent championship series.