Lo­cals in lacrosse lime­light

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - STEVE MIL­TON

They’re both Hamil­to­ni­ans with a suc­cess­ful his­tory in lacrosse, but Ed Comeau has only coached Ryan Dilks once: to a world cham­pi­onship in 2015.

And now Comeau will be coach­ing against Dilks, one of the best de­fen­sive box lacrosse play­ers in the world.

There will be a strong Hamilton-area pres­ence when the Na­tional Lacrosse League fi­nals, known as the Cham­pion’s Cup, open June 4 in Du­luth, Ga., near At­lanta.

The Ge­or­gia Swarm, which had the NLL’s best over­all record in the reg­u­lar sea­son to earn home floor ad­van­tage through­out the play­offs will meet the Saskatchewan Rush, which won the last two league ti­tles, in the Cham­pion’s Cup fi­nals. Dilks, of the Rush, goes for his third straight NLL cham­pi­onship. Over that time, he’s also been on teams that have won the Cana­dian Sr. A cham­pi­onship, the Sr. B cham­pi­onship and the world cham­pi­onship.

The Rush beat Colorado, 18-9 and 11-10 to sweep its semi­fi­nal.

Mean­while, the Swarm also won its semi in straight games, 11-8 and 13-9 over the Toronto Rock. Ge­or­gia is coached by Comeau, who was with the Ontario Raiders (based in Hamilton) in 1998, won four Cham­pion’s Cups as an as­sis­tant coach with the Rock, and was head coach when the Rochester Knighthawks won the 2007 NLL cham­pi­onship. Sean Fer­ris of Burling­ton is Comeau’s as­sis­tant in Ge­or­gia.

The Swarm is cap­tained by Burling­ton’s Jor­dan MacIn­tosh, who also led the team in loose ball re­trievals. Other lo­cals on the Swarm in­clude: de­fence­man Drew Petkoff of Hamilton, who’s played five years of pro; six­foot-five for­ward Kiel Matisz from Stoney Creek, who had a goal and an as­sist in the sec­ond game of the semi­fi­nals; and skilled for­wards Randy Staats and Johnny Pow­less from Six Na­tions who, be­tween them, had nine points in the clincher over Toronto. Rookie goal­tender War­ren Hill, from Six Na­tions, is on the Swarm’s prac­tice ros­ter.

The crowds in Ge­or­gia are an­tic­i­pated to ex­ceed 6,000 while Saskatchewan, play­ing out of Saska­toon’s SaskTel Cen­tre, drew more than 14,000 for its semi­fi­nal home date.

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