The Toronto Rock have surged to the lead in the National Lacrosse League’s Eastern Division. And stylistically, it looks very impressive.
For the third consecutive occasion, the Rock (3-2) played a complete game. It has an edge at both ends of the floor, in transition, and in goal, dominating the Rochester Knighthawks 17-9 at before a weather-hampered crowd of 7,101 at the Air Canada Centre on Friday.
“We challenged them a couple of weeks ago after our (0-2) start and they’ve responded,” Rock head coach Matt Sawyer said. “We had eight transition goals. Our power play has shored itself up. A lot of good things right now.”
The Rock established this game from the start, taking a 5-2 lead after one. Defensively, the Rock let the Knighthawks know it was quicker to the man and hungrier for the loose ball. And except for a seeing-eye shot from Josh Currier and a dribbler by Cody Jamieson on the power play, goaltender Nick Rose was solid.
Offensively, the Rock had several second-chance opportunities. And it was also willing to shoot from anywhere, firing 19 on goal in the first quarter and getting markers from Kieran McArdle, Adam Jones, Dan Craig, Reid Reinholdt, and Brett Hickey. Hickey’s goal chased the usually reliable Matt Vinc from the Rochester goal in favor of Angus Goodleaf.
The Rock did increase the lead to 9-5 in the second but Goodleaf appeared to stabilize the Knighthawks defence for a time. The Rock’s defence though created a lot of transition chances and on consecutive breakaways early in the period, Sheldon Burns and Phil Caputo scored. Rochester went on a 3-0 run with goals by Cory Vitarelli and Dan Dawson sandwiching the first NLL goal by rookie Austin Shanks. But the dam eventually broke in the Rochester end 12 minutes in when Jones scored his second and Tom Schreiber started another productive night.
Toronto put this one away in the third. Tom Schreiber completed his hat trick, scoring goals on consecutive power plays with scintillating shots. Jones, the NLL’s leading scorer, also scored his third. Challen Rogers scored on transition while Damon Edwards found the net while sticking around for an offensive set. Kyle Jackson scored shorthanded and Shanks added his second for Rochester, who trailed 14-7.
Stat-padding for the Rock in the fourth were Schreiber (4th), Burns (2nd), and Rob Hellyer, who had five points. Jackson scored his third and Jamieson his second for Rochester (2-2). The Rock outshot Rochester 67-47.
“After the slow start to the season, we’ve been stressing, play desperate,” Schreiber said. “Play like our backs are against the wall.”
“We hope to be able to keep that kind of intensity going.”
The Rock get to cool that intensity a bit for a week before facing the New England Black Wolves at the ACC on Jan. 27.
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies