Toronto Rock Game Report - Saturday,February 29,2020
REINHOLDT CLUTCH AND ROSE SLAMS THE DOOR AS ROCK WIN OVER RUSH. Toronto Rallies From 6-2 Halftime Deficit To Beat Saskatchewan 9-8
Saskatoon, SK – On the road, short staffed and down by four goals at the half against one of the top teams in the league could have spelled trouble for any team, but perhaps this 2019-20 Toronto Rock squad aren’t just, “any” team.
The Rock (7-3) showed incredible resiliency and overcame a 6-2 deficit after 30 minutes to defeat the Saskatchewan Rush (6-3) by a score of 9-8 on Saturday night at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, SK.
“Everyone knew our injury situation,” Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer said after what was arguably his team’s biggest win of the season, all things considered. “We’ve faced adversity all year and this was just another game where we had guys step up and we had some special performances out there. We’ve got something good going on here.”
Rock goaltender Nick Rose had a brilliant second half and for the second game in a row allowed just two goals over the final two quarters. He once again gave his team a chance to win and, on this night, they took advantage of the opportunity afforded to them by their netminder’s performance.
With Toronto missing offensive stars Dan Dawson, Adam Jones and Tom Schreiber, the game started exactly how the Rock would have wanted it to in all likelihood, keeping the Rush at bay for the first ten minutes of the opening quarter. Saskatchewan scored just once in the first quarter and led by that margin, 1-0 after one.
Down 2-0, Johnny Powless found an opening and his shot proved to be deadly accurate and got the Rock on the board. The Rush responded with a pair to build a 4-1 lead and take control of the frame. Taylor Stuart scored his first in a Rock uniform to claw back to within two goals, but once again the Rush scored twice and led 6-2 at the half.
Just 1:32 into the second half, Dan Craig scored one of the more athletic dunk goals you’ll see in the NLL, completely fooling the Rush defender with his footwork and then leaping from behind the net to stuff the ball past Evan Kirk in the Saskatchewan goal. Reid Reinholdt scored a pair of clutch goals, one coming on the power play, and just like that the Rock were trailing by just one, 6-5.
Right on cue, Scott Dominey raced down the floor and scored one of his now patented breakaway goals to tie the game. Rush star Mark Matthews scored his only goal of the night to restore the Rush lead 7-6. Powless would get his second of the game off a broken play in front of the net, scooping up a loose ball with his back to the goal and firing a shot over his shoulder and into the Rush goal to tie the score 7-7 after three quarters.
Early in the final frame, Reinholdt was once again clutch, this time on a dunk goal from behind the cage to complete the hat trick and put the Rock up 8-7. With the next goal feeling like it could determine the outcome of the game, Rob Hellyer scored for the first time in the game to stake the Rock to a 9-7 lead. The Rush managed one more goal but the Rock defence and Rose shut the door for the final 9:12 to preserve the win.
“The boys were firing, the first Reinholdt goal, it got us going and from there we were sailing,” said Dominey. “I couldn’t find my stride in the first and then had a couple of the boys tell me what I needed to do and I put that to work in the second half and buried one and got the boys rolling.”
Reinholdt’s hat trick and one assist paced the Rock offence. Powless finished with a pair of goals and Dominey, Hellyer, Craig and Stuart all scored once. Hellyer’s goal was his 30th of the season and he also added three assists.
The Rock were 1-for-2 on the power play, while the Rush were 1-for-3.
Rose made 22 of his 42 saves in the second half for his seventh win of the season. Kirk made 44 saves in the losing effort.
Toronto will return home next weekend for the first of three straight home games. Up first will be the defending NLL champion Calgary Roughnecks on Sunday, Mar. 8 at 3 p.m. It’s Kidz Day and kids are free with the purchase of a regular ticket through Ticketmaster.