Toronto Rock Game Report - ROCK WIN THIRD IN A ROW
Saturday,January 11: Toronto Beats Rochester 13-12
Toronto, ON – The Toronto Rock (3-1) won their third straight game, defeating the Rochester Knighthawks (0-4) by a score of 13-12 on Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON. The Rock took control of the back-and-forth affair early in the third quarter and never trailed after that.
This was the second of three regular season meetings between the two clubs. This win coupled with the Rock’s 14-11 victory over the Knighthawks in Rochester back on Dec. 28, gives the Rock the season series and the head-to-head tiebreaker should the two teams finish even in the standings at season’s end.
The Rock offence hit double digits for the third straight game with Rob Hellyer (3G + 3A) leading the way. Hellyer became just the fifth player in team history to hit the 500-point plateau in a Rock uniform. He joins some elite company alongside Colin Doyle, Blaine Manning, Josh Sanderson and Stephan Leblanc.
“We found a way and it was a pretty gritty effort,” said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer after his team’s first home win of the season. “Certainly not our best moment but you’re going to have them some nights and it’s important that you find a way to win.”
Both teams got on the board early in the opening stanza, but the visiting Knighthawks built a 3-1 lead after one quarter. The Knighthawks continued to keep the Rock at an arm’s length for most of the first half but at the break, Toronto had narrowed the gap to just a goal.
The Rock came out firing to begin the third quarter and took their first lead of the game on goals from Hellyer and Adam Jay just 12 seconds apart. The Knighthawks wouldn’t go away in this one and consistently answered when the Rock scored and neither team were able to generate much in terms of any offensive momentum by going on a run.
Damon Edwards would score the eventual game winning goal on a transition, dip and dunk goal that at the time put the Rock up 13-11. Rochester added a late marker but it was too little, too late.
This game wasn’t without its fireworks as there were several moments, including just after the final buzzer, that appeared close to seeing the game break out into an all-out war on the floor.
Rock goal scorers were Hellyer and rookie Zach Manns with three apiece. Dan Craig had a pair and singles came from Jay, Edwards, Dan Dawson, Tom Schreiber and Brandon Slade.
Between the pipes, Nick Rose turned in another strong performance, stopping 30 of the 42 shots he faced. At the other end, Knighthawks’ goalie Craig Wende made 49 saves and suffered the loss.
“It all starts with Rosey,” said Manns. “Those are some of the most unbelievable saves I’ve ever seen, and he had three of them in one game. It all starts with him and when our defence is stepping out and pressuring, I don’t think there’s an offence that can get to the net on us.”
The schedule heats up for the Rock with a pivotal North Division matchup on the horizon next Saturday night in Buffalo, NY against the Bandits. Fans can watch the game on Bleacher Report Live at 7 p.m. ET.