Toronto Rock Game Report - ROSE LEADS ROCK TO BIG ROAD WIN OVER SAN DIEGO
Toronto Builds Big First Half Lead And Rides Their Goalie To Victory
San Diego, CA – What a difference a week makes. After a disappointing loss in their home opener last weekend, the Toronto Rock (1-1) defeated the San Diego Seals (0-2) by a score of 13-6 on Saturday night at Pechanga Arena in San Diego, CA. Nick Rose made 52 saves to lead the visiting Rock to the convincing win.
“No one was happy with how we played last week, our performance was unacceptable with it being our home opener and the players were challenged all week to be better and they certainly were better tonight,” said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer.
The first half was all Rock. Offensively, defensively and between the pipes, Toronto dominated every facet of the game. The Rock scored early and often, building a 4-0 lead after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, it was more of the same, with the Rock adding another four goals including Dan Dawson’s second tally which was his 1,400th career point in the National Lacrosse League. He’s just the third player in league history to hit that plateau, the others being John Grant (1,446) and the NLL’s all-time leading scorer John Tavares (1,749).
With less than a minute to go in the opening half, Rock captain Challen Rogers took to the air and used some Michael Jordan-like hang time to bury a big goal that gave the Rock an 8-2 lead at the break.
Tom Schreiber’s second goal of the game came just 36 seconds into the second half to push the Rock to their largest lead of the night at 9-2. The Seals scored three straight to claw back to within four, trailing 9-5 after three.
Just over two minutes into the fourth quarter, Dawson used some veteran trickery to distract the San Diego defence, creeping closer to the goal but selling pass all the way, eventually ripped a shot past the Seals’ keeper to put the Rock up 10-5. It was a goal that took the wind out of San Diego’s sails.
San Diego would score to make it 10-6 with 6:59 to go, but it was the Rock piling on in the late going. Zach Manns was one of the Rock’s three late-game goal scorers. His goal was the first of his NLL career.
The real story from tonight’s game was Rose’s performance in the Rock cage. On a night where the Rock were outshot 58-43, the veteran goalie had to be great and he was nothing short of that adjective throughout the night. The performance from the 31-year, Orangeville, ON native has to rank among his best games in a Rock uniform.
“Our defence was unbelievable all night, our offence was awesome, it was just a great team win all around,” said Rose. “The guys definitely earned that win tonight. I didn’t like how last week went and I felt like I owed these guys a bit of a better performance.”
Rock goal scorers were Dawson and Schreiber with three apiece, Rob Hellyer with a pair and singles came from Rogers, Manns, Dan Craig, Johnny Powless and Josh Jubenville, also a first-time NLL goal scorer.
The Rock will now enjoy a bye week before returning to the floor to face the expansion Rochester Knighthawks on the road on Saturday, Dec. 28. Fans can watch the game at 7 p.m. ET with a subscription to Bleacher Report Live.