BIG FOURTH QUARTER GIVES ROCK THEIR FIRST HOME WIN
After winning their first game in Buffalo the night before, the Rock looked to make it two wins in a row to finish the home and home series against the Bandits at the ACC, 13-8. They would come up big in the fourth quarter to win the game, sweeping the season series against the Bandits.
The first period seemed like it may start similar to the previous night with the Bandits receiving an early penalty putting them down a man. Despite man disadvantage, Buffalo took to the offensive scoring first on a Brett Bucktooth shorthanded goal. The Bandits scored the first three goals of the quarter taking a commanding lead while the Rock looked to counter but were stopped by the rejuvenated Buffalo defense. Kevin Fines’ fourth goal of the season ended the Rock’s drought late in the period and the quarter would end with the Bandits up 3-1.
The second quarter would start out better with Aaron Wilson scoring on a power play 37 seconds into the period cutting the Buffalo lead to one. The Rock later would tie the game on a goal by Matt Shearer midway through the quarter with a beautiful shot that found its way through three Bandits defenders. The teams traded goals with the Rock taking the lead for the first time in the game on a Jim Veltman rocket late in the quarter. The Rock led at halftime, 6-5. The lead would have been two had a goal from the Rocks’ crease area as the period expired on an empty Bandits net not been called off by the referees.
Both teams took the field with renewed fire coming out of the locker rooms for the start of the third. The Rock began the quarter the same way they ended the half, on then attack. They would score the first goal of the second half on Chad Thompson’s blast from the left corner. The Bandits would eventually tie the game midway through the third at seven a piece on the goal by Jason Crosbie. With under a minute to go, Rob Marshall scoring his first goal of the year tied the game and the rookie Ryan Benesch would score the go ahead goal giving the Rock the lead heading into the final period despite being out shot by the Bandits 19-5.
The Bandits began the fourth with a man in the penalty box and the Rock quickly took advantage with Shearer scoring his second of the game to extend the lead to 10-8 and the Rock defense were successful in limiting the Bandits scoring chances to only six. Buffalo seemed to revert back to the previous night’s play incurring penalties late in the fourth which would yield a goal by Josh Sanderson giving the Rock a three goal lead. Toronto would convert a total of three power play goals to put the game out of reach of the Bandits, who would play with at least one man down for the last three minutes.
Matt Shearer led the Rock with a hat trick and two assists, followed by Josh Sanderson who added two goals and three assists. Captain Jim Veltman’s return to the line up netted him one goal, three assists and twelve loose balls.
The Bandits were lead in scoring by Dan Teat who scored two goals while adding one assist in the Buffalo loss.
The Bandits would tally up 42 penalty minutes in the game, including three game misconducts, from which they could not recover which led to six Rock power play goals.
Goaltender Bob Watson played excellent throughout the game making big stops on the Bandits, some of them from point blank, to record the win. His play helped to key the fourth quarter run by the Rock shutting out Buffalo in the fourth period and stopping 39 shots for the game. Bandits Steve Dietrich would take the loss for his second straight.
The Rock (2-3) will have a week off returning to action on Feb. 18th looking to make it three wins in a row as they welcome on of the NLL expansion teams, the Chicago Shamrox to the ACC. Seat are still available for the afternoon game which starts at 3:30pm.