Rock Impressive, Thunderbirds Suffer First Loss

Jenn Connor
BarnBurner Sports Writer


Saturday, February 1, 2020

The Toronto Rock handed the Halifax Thunderbirds their first loss of the season, downing the league leaders 12-9 before an enthusiastic crowd at Scotiabank Arena Friday night. 

The game was fast-paced from the outset. The Rock jumped to a 3-1 first quarter lead on goals from Dan Dawson, Damon Edwards, and Scott Dominey and backed by solid goaltending from Nick Rose. Halifax came out strong to start the second quarter with Colton Armstrong and captain Cody Jamieson scoring just twelve seconds apart. Clarke Petterson gave the Thunderbirds a 4-3 lead but the Rock fought back to score four consecutive goals, captain Challen Rogers rifling a shot past Halifax goalie Warren Hill with just two seconds left to give the Rock a 7-4 advantage at the half. 

The third quarter proved to be pivotal. Halifax came out peppering Rose but the Toronto netminder turned away several excellent scoring chances. Thunderbirds forward Austin Shanks finally broke through, beating Rose high on the stick side to cut the Rock lead to 7-5. The Rock responded however, scoring three goals in just over two minutes. Dawson started the flurry on the power play, beating Hill for his third goal of the game. Rob Hellyer and Dominey with his second on the night followed to give the Rock a five goal advantage. 

The Rock looked poised to blow the game open when the Thunderbirds Graeme Hossack was assessed a five minute major penalty for boarding with just over six minutes left in the quarter. But the Rock failed to capitalize and there was a sense that this was the boost the Thunderbirds needed to get back in the game. But, with just twenty-nine seconds left Hellyer whistled a shot past Hill to give the Rock an 11-5 advantage heading into the final quarter. 

Halifax stormed back in the final stanza, scoring four straight goals to cut the Rock lead to two with 3:22 left. Jamieson sparked the comeback with his second goal of the night and assisting on goals by Petterson and veteran Ryan Benesch. Toronto’s defense stiffened over the next two and half minutes however and David Brock put the game out of reach, scoring an empty-netter in the final minute. 

Dawson finished with a hat trick and a four point night to lead the Rock. Hellyer had two goals and an assist while Rogers and Edwards each added a goal and two helpers. Rose made 42 saves on 51 shots to get the win. 

Clarke Pettersen had a six point night with two goals and four assists to lead the Thunderbirds. Hill faced 49 shots making 37 saves. 

With the win, the Rock improve to 4-2 in the NLL North Division, a game and a half behind the Thunderbirds. The Rock are back in action February 9th hosting the Buffalo Bandits.