New York Titans' Quest For The Cup
New York, NY - In only their second year in existence, the New York Titans are headed to the National Lacrosse League Eastern Conference Finals. After knocking Minnesota out of the playoffs in their first round match on Saturday, May 3rd at the Xcel Energy Center with an 11-8 victory, the Titans are ready to take on John Tavares and the Buffalo Bandits at HSBC Arena Saturday, May 10 at 7:30pm in the do-or-die Eastern Conference title match.
The Calgary Roughnecks will be hosting the Portland LumberJax in the Western Conference Finals on Saturday, May 10 at 7:30pm. The winner of the East Division matchup will host either team from the West, as both the Bandits and the Titans have better regular season records than Calgary and Portland.
If the Titans beat the Bandits and take the Eastern Conference title, they will host the NLL Champion's Cup game against the winner of the West at the Garden on Saturday, May 17th at 7:30pm. The NLL Champion's Cup game will be televised on ESPN 2.
"It was a deadlocked game with five minutes left," said Titans head coach Adam Mueller about the Titans first round playoff match against Minnesota. "We were in the same position with Minnesota five weeks ago [with a tied score late into the fourth] and we blinked. This time they blinked. Minnesota is a very good team - they're a lot like us where they spread the scoring around have a hard-nosed defense. The fact that we held strong after exchanging one goal leads and ties throughout the game and were able to put the game away just shows that our guys are playing with confidence and character in the playoffs. "
New York will need that confidence and character as they enter the second round of the playoffs against Buffalo. The Titans has faced Buffalo twice in the 2008 regular season. The Bandits dealt the Titans their first loss of the season on January 19th at HSBC Arena, which sparked a 4-game losing streak for New York. After winning their first game of the season, the Titans went 1-4 until they faced Buffalo for a second time at home at the Garden on February 10th. In that game, the Titans beat the Bandits 11-10 with a clutch sudden death overtime goal scored by Titans rookie Jordan Hall. Since that win, the Titans won nine of the last 11 games to finish the season with a 10-6 record.
"Buffalo is a tough team," Mueller said. "We're going to have to limit our mistakes and use our athleticism against them I think we'll have a shot."
The Titans enter the Eastern Conference title match the hottest team in the NLL right now, riding high on a five game winning streak. The Titans' starting goalie Matt Vinc has been a brick wall so far in the playoffs, stopping 82% of all shots, leading all goalies on playoff teams.
"It's a great combination of the way our defense has been playing and they way [Matt's] been playing behind them," Mueller commented on the second-year goaltender. "Matt trusts his guys -when they fall down, he's there to make a great save. Matt's really come into his own this year. He's proven that he belongs in this league and he's proven that he can lead a team into the playoffs and that's exactly what he's done."
Tickets for the NLL Champion's Cup Game at the Garden - contingent on a Titans win this weekend in Buffalo - will go on sale on Monday, May 12 at 9am. Please call 888-8TITANS to learn about play-off pricing and group deals. Tickets will be available via ticketmaster.com, the Garden box office or via www.nytitans.com.
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National Lacrosse League Stories from May 9, 2008
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