ROCK CRUISE TO VICTORY IN VANCOUVER
Toronto Wraps Up Regular Season With 15-9 Win
Vancouver, BC – The Toronto Rock (12-6) controlled their final game of the regular season from start to finish, defeating the Vancouver Warriors (5-13) by a score of 15-9 on Friday night at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC.
While the game didn’t carry any meaning in the standings for either team with Vancouver eliminated from playoff contention and Toronto already locked into an East Division Semi-Final at Georgia, there were several positives to draw on for the Rock.
Goaltender Nick Rose was superb between the pipes, making 39 saves on 46 shots before giving way to Riley Hutchcraft for the final nine-plus minutes. Tom Schreiber was as dynamic as ever, creating chances all night long and finishing with nine points (2G + 7A). Captain Challen Rogers was everywhere on the floor, dominating at both ends and contributed 2 goals, an assist and 5 loose balls. Defender of the Year candidate Brad Kri had a team-high 13 loose balls, two assists, a caused turnover and won 17 of the 23 faceoffs he took.
“We feel like we’ve been playing pretty good lacrosse over the last month and we had a bye and hadn’t played in two weeks, so we put a lot of stock in this game tonight,” said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer. “We wanted to keep the momentum going that we had been building and we accomplished what we wanted to here tonight.”
The Rock carried a 2-1 lead into the second quarter and exploded for six goals in the second quarter, building an 8-4 lead at the half.
The Warriors did a bit of work in the third quarter, chipping away at the Rock lead, closing to within three, trailing 10-7 after three quarters. But, Toronto put an end to any Vancouver hopes of a comeback with five straight goals over the opening 6:50 of the fourth quarter, including a pair of power play markers to lead 15-7. Vancouver added a couple goals late, but it was too little, too late.
Rock goal scorers were led by the game’s first star, Dan Craig who scored three times to finish the season with 20 goals, a career-high. Adam Jones, Rob Hellyer, Schreiber and Rogers all scored twice. Johnny Powless, Dan Lintner, Brandon Slade and Latrell Harris all chipped in with singles.
“This (game) is hopefully indicative of how next weekend’s going to go,” said Craig. “Hopefully this translates into a good start next week in Georgia. We’re feeling good with a win tonight.”
In addition to his two goals, Hellyer had three assists, one of which was his 483rd career point that moved him past Jim Veltman for fifth on the Rock all-time scorers list. With 485 points, next year Hellyer will start the chase for 4th all-time, as he tries to reel in Stephan Leblanc who had 601 points in a Rock uniform.
The Rock will travel to Georgia to open the 2019 NLL Playoffs against the Swarm on Monday, May 6. The East Division Semi-Final is a winner-takes-all, one-game showdown. Fans can watch the game on Bleacher Report Live at 7:30 p.m. ET.