Believe it or not, the amazing National Lacrosse League race for berths in the upcoming Nations Trophy playoffs may go down to the final game of the season this Sunday night between the Maryland Arrows and the Boston Bolts at Landover, Md.
At this point, Long Island and Montreal have clinched playoff positions, but the battle is so tight for the other two spots each of the four remaining teams still has a mathematical chance to finish third or fourth. The Wings would have the easiest road, the Arrows the toughest job.
All the Wings have to do is beat the Bolts tonight and hope that either Boston or Quebec finishes with 25 losses. A Philadelphia win over Boston would guarantee them 22 victories and two ties for 46 points no matter what happens in the Wings’ finale at Long Island Friday night.
If Quebec loses one of its two remaining games with Boston, the Wings clinch a playoff berth with a victory over the Bolts. Should the Bolts lose their two contests with Quebec and also lose to the Wings, they would find themselves with 25 losses.
If Boston wins its four remaining tilts or three of them, they would make the playoffs. Quebec almost has to win both of its games with Boston to get there.
Maryland still has an outside chance if it can beat Montreal on the road Thursday night and win at home against Boston on Sunday.
But the Bolts and Caribous would have to split and Boston lose to the Wings for that to happen. Meanwhile, Long Island and Montreal are taking it easy preparing for the semi-finals which begin on their respective home floors next Tuesday (Sept. 2).
The Tomahawks will play the fourth place finisher and the Quebecois the third place finisher. The Wings are the only team that has an advantage (6-3) over Morley Kells’ team this year. So it’s safe to assume he would prefer Boston, Quebec or Maryland in the semifinals.
Should the Wings finish third, their chances against Montreal in a best-of-seven set are considered excellent. The Wings have been losing lately. Agreed. But the schedule has not been in their favor. The situation in the playoffs would be much different, and a Philadelphia victory over Montreal would come as no big surprise.