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Panther City Lacrosse Club celebrate a goal

North Texas has a serious playoff buzz on right now.

The Dallas Stars won the NHL’s Central Division and will most likely rank first in the Western Conference as well, with a shot at the Presidents’ Trophy for the league’s best overall record. They have skill plus depth and reeled off an eight-game winning streak in March and early April.

The Dallas Mavericks enter the NBA playoffs as the fifth seed, and although they lost their last two regular-season games, they’d only dropped two games in the previous month. Plus they’ve got a couple of guys who could put 50 on a team on any given night.

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It turns out the area could have three playoff teams going all at the same time.

Yes, three, because Panther City Lacrosse Club also looks poised to move into the postseason after a big win yesterday against Albany. They sped out to a 6-0 start in the first quarter and never trailed in the 11-7 win.

The victory improved their season record to 9-8, a crucial game ahead of three 8-9 teams. Eight clubs in the 15-member National Lacrosse League make the playoffs and the Fort Worth group now sits seventh. They control their own destiny when they travel to Alberta Saturday to play the Calgary Roughnecks. A win clinches a spot, as do losses by any two of Vancouver, Saskatchewan, or New York, who each to play a top-three team in their regular-season finales. PCLC also controls head-to-head tiebreakers with the Vancouver Warriors and the New York Riptide.

So, bottom line, things look good for them to get in, and they could conceivably rise as high as the third seed depending on other results.

Once they get there, Head Coach Tracey Kelusky feels they, like the other two postseason-bound teams in the area, have what it takes to make some noise.

“We’re so versatile on the on the front side of it where anybody can go off on any given night,” he said of his offense Sunday night after the win. Depth of scoring gives opponents a lot to think about.

The coach also likes how his team has performed on the other side of the field.

“I really love the way Nick Damude’s playing right now and, to a man, our D’s playing great in front of him.”

PCLC goalie Damude made 54 saves Sunday. Kelusky feels his performance this season augurs well for the test to come.

“If history tells us that, hey, it’s the top four goalies in the league that are always typically the last four teams standing. So, you know, Nicky’s proved himself this year, time in, time out.”

Panther City will need to win a one-game first round to advance to that final four. If they do get to host a home game, their fans will have one advantage over their Dallas counterparts: ticket availability at Dickies Arena. The Stars and Mavs have been in the area for a while and will be a tough get. PCLC offers more flexibility, so pay attention to what happen in Calgary next weekend. Maybe you can find yourself at a playoff game this spring.

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