Toronto Rock Game Report - Saturday,January 18,2020
ROCK WINNING STREAK ENDED BY BANDITS
Buffalo, NY – The Toronto Rock (3-2) had their three-game winning streak snapped on Saturday night in Buffalo, losing 10-8 to the Bandits (3-1) in front of the always rabid Bandit land fans at KeyBank Center.
“I thought it was a five or six minute stretch in the second quarter that turned the game and they got some momentum,” said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer following the game. “It was a tough night for us up front and we were working and competing, but we need to get some balance between our right and left side scoring and find a way to execute on the power play. That’s all stuff that we are going to work on and get to work correcting it.”
The opening fifteen minutes belonged to the Rock. After Hellyer got Toronto started, tempers flared and the Rock’s Mitch Gustavsen, who was making his NLL debut, got into a spirited scrap with Buffalo’s Brent Noseworthy. Noseworthy was ejected from the game as he was handed an instigator penalty.
The Rock continued to carry the play early and built a 3-1 lead when the horn sounded to end the first quarter. Buffalo’s lone tally came shorthanded.
In the second quarter, the Bandits fed off the crowd’s energy and scored five straight goals to surge ahead 6-3. Hellyer scored his third of the game with just 3:14 left in the half to break up the Bandits’ run. 57 seconds later, Hellyer scored his fourth to draw the Rock to within a goal at 6-5. Buffalo added one before the break and led 7-5 at halftime.
Each team scored just once in the third quarter. Buffalo’s only goal came on a penalty shot, scored by Josh Byrne. The penalty shot was awarded after Byrne was checked from behind on a breakaway by Challen Rogers. Toronto’s goal came from Dan Dawson, who spun of his man and stuffed the ball in the top corner. The story of the quarter however was the Rock’s inability to cash on multiple man-up opportunities which included a five-minute power play.
Rogers scored his second goal of the game, just 43 seconds into the fourth quarter, to bring the Rock to within a goal, trailing 8-7. Hellyer’s outside shot found the back of the net to tie the game for the Rock, but that was as close as they would get. The Bandits Chris Cloutier scored on an outside shot of his own and Buffalo added an empty net goal to seal the 10-8 win.
The Rock were led offensively by Hellyer’s five goals and one assist. Rogers had a pair of goals and Dawson had a single. Both goaltenders were very good. Rose made 47 saves, some of the spectacular variety in the loss.
Toronto was without star forward Tom Schreiber who was placed on the Injured Reserve earlier in the day with an upper body injury. In addition to Schreiber, the Rock were still missing defender Latrell Harris and forward Adam Jones who are both on the Injured Reserve.
The Rock finished the night 0-for-3 on the power play, while the Bandits were 1-for-2.
The schedule gives the Rock another break this coming week, which will also allow for a few of the injured bodies to get closer to a return to the lineup. When action resumes for Toronto, the Rock welcomes the Halifax Thunderbirds to Rock City on Fri., Jan. 31 at Scotiabank Arena. Fans can watch the game on Bleacher Report Live, Rogers Ignite and Digital TV at 7:30 p.m. ET.