Geography means Thunder, Saints are year-round rivals


Two of the original teams in the Major Indoor Lacrosse League six years ago, the Baltimore Thunder and the New York Saints, will continue their rivalry tonight (8:05) at the Baltimore Arena.

"In a capsule, this is part of the New York-Baltimore lacrosse rivalry, one that goes on all year," said Thunder general manager Darrell Russell. "These same guys meet during the indoor season, play against one another again in the spring and also play in tournaments in the summer and fall. It's a year-round thing."

First place in the American Division will be at stake tonight. New York (2-0) has beaten the Buffalo Bandits twice, and the Thunder (1-1) beat the Boston Blazers and lost to the Detroit Turbos.

"New York has access to a lot larger player pool -- Long Island, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut -- than we do," said Russell. "It's a tribute to the coaching of John Stewart that we have always held our own against New York because we have to share our talent pool with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Stewart does a great job."

Tom Manos (Towson State), who has started the last two Thunder games in goal, is out of town on business and Steve Dietrich, a rookie from Canada, will start tonight and be backed up by another rookie, Charlie Toomey (Loyola).

"We got Dietrich so that he could play goal for us and we're going to stick him in there and see how he does," said Russell. "We know it will be a lot of pressure for him, but we believe he can handle it. This game will be like a war. New York wants to win because a win in our building will give the Saints one foot in the door for the division championship.

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