TORONTO – The slump is finally over and for head coach Terry Sanderson and the rest of the Toronto Rock, it’s time for a sigh of relief.
The Rock (1-4) defeated the visiting Edmonton Rush (0-4), 14-8, in front of 15,104 fans at the Air Canada Centre Jan. 27.
Josh Sanderson led the way for the Rock with three goals and eight assists (11 pts), while Colin Doyle added three goals and seven assists (10 pts). Blaine Manning tallied a goal and a franchise-best nine helpers (10 pts).
The Rock played a solid first half, building an early 5-1 lead, something which had been a challenge going into the game.
Toronto opened the scoring 25 seconds in, with Josh Sanderson cutting across the crease to beat Rush goalie Pat Campbell low.
Campbell got off to a shaky start, allowing five goals on the first 7 Rock shots, including three in the first two minutes.
Edmonton would reply quickly to make it 3-1, but a fight between Rock defender Patrick Merrill and former Rock forward and current Rush leading scorer Jimmy Quinlan got the crowd back into it.
Toronto led 5-2 after the first quarter and then tied the second quarter with Edmonton 3-3. This is the first time the Rock had not been outscored in the second quarter this season.
Penalty killing throughout played a big factor in the win, with Toronto scoring three shorthanded goals, killing off a five-minute major in the fourth quarter and a two-man advantage in the second quarter. Ragging by Blaine Manning, Colin Doyle and Chris Driscoll and tough Rock defence were significant factors in the strong result, with the Rock killing off all but one of the Rush’s six powerplay chances.
Bob “Whipper” Watson made a huge save after the Rock’s eighth goal to preserve a five-goal lead at 8-3.
But Edmonton’s two goals in the last 30 seconds of first half gave the Rush some momentum entering the second half. The Rock led 9-6 at the halftime break.
Campbell played much better in the third quarter for Edmonton including a great breakaway save on Chris Driscoll midway through the quarter.
Josh “Shooter” Sanderson tallied his hattrick marker with an outside shot with just over a minute left in the third frame, but Kevin Howard pulled the Rush back to within three goals, beating Watson to the weak side.
Howard led the Rush with three goals, while Quinlan, who took a physical beating from the Rock defence all night, added two goals and an assist.
After scoring a highlight-reel goal shorthanded on his weak side, Rock forward Colin Doyle used Rush defender Rory Glaves as a screen to tally his second straight shorthanded marker, beating Campbell high.
Toronto outscored the Rush 4-1 in the fourth quarter to cruise to victory.
The Rock will travel to play their national rival the Calgary Roughnecks on Sunday Feb. 5 at 3:30 p.m. EST. The game can be heard on the Fan 590 (joined in progress) and seen live on Rogers Sportsnet Ontario and West.
NOTES: Josh Sanderson was named as the Future Shop/Toshiba Player of the Game (picked by Rogers Sportsnet), while Bob Watson was named as the Molson Canadian Defensive Player of the Game.
ROCK 14, RUSH 8
(At Air Canada Centre)
1. Toronto J. Sanderson (Doyle, Manning) 0:25
2. Toronto Doyle (J. Sanderson, Manning) 1:01
3. Toronto Driscoll (J. Sanderson, Doyle) 1:26
4. Edmonton Daly (Darion, McElroy) 1:53
5. Toronto Wilson (Manning, Doyle) 5:12 pp
6. Toronto Driscoll 2 (Doyle, J. Sanderson) 10:05 sh
7. Edmonton Turner (Campbell) 13:40
Penalties – Edmonton Howard (roughing) 2:50; Toronto Ladouceur (roughing) 2:50; Edmonton Bergman (holding) 4:08; Edmonton Quinlan (fighting) 4:58; Toronto Merrill (fighting) 4:58; Toronto Veltman (holding the stick) 5:38; Edmonton Wilson (goaltender interference) 6:46; Toronto Henhawk (cross-checking) 9:15.
8. Edmonton Quinlan (Bowen, Bergman) 4:11 pp
9. Toronto Wilson 2 (Manning) 7:06
10. Toronto J. Sanderson 2 (Manning, Merrill) 9:30
11. Toronto Wilson 3 (J. Sanderson, Manning) 12:17 pp
12. Edmonton Darion (Stachniak, Campbell) 14:26
13. Edmonton Quinlan 2 (Susheski, Darion) 14:59
Penalties – Toronto Beisel (holding the stick) 2:57; Edmonton Jenner (holding the stick) 4:40; Edmonton Stachniak (crosschecking) 11:30.
14. Toronto Manning (J. Sanderson, Doyle) 4:03 pp
15. Edmonton Howard (Susheski) 6:36
16. Toronto J. Sanderson 3 ( Wilson) 13:43
17. Edmonton Howard 2 (Quinlan, Bergman) 14:03
Penalties – Edmonton bench (too many men, served by Daly) 3:52; Edmonton Susheski (unsportsmanlike conduct) 8:44 .
18. Toronto Wilson 4 (Doyle, J. Sanderson) 1:07
19. Toronto Wilson 5 (Doyle, Manning) 2:56 pp
20. Edmonton Howard 3 (Bowen) 4:31 4-on-4
21. Toronto Doyle 2 (J. Sanderson, Manning) 8:19 sh
22. Toronto Doyle 3 (J. Sanderson, Manning) 9:45 sh
Penalties – Edmonton Turner (illegal equipment, delay of game) 1:32; Stachniak (high sticking major) 2:49; Toronto bench (too many men, served by Manning) 4:19; Giles (checking from behind major) 6:49; Giles (holding) 12:44; Toronto bench (too many men) 0:00.
Scoring by period : 1 2 3 4 T
Edmonton 2 3 2 1 8
Toronto 5 3 2 4 14
Shots by period : 1 2 3 4 T
Edmonton 17 10 9 20 56
Toronto 11 18 12 14 55
Goalies : Edmonton – Campbell (41 saves, 55 shots); Toronto – Watson (48 saves, 56 shots)
Powerplays : Edmonton 1/6 ; Toronto 4/8
Referees : Chet Couture, Grant Spies, Mark Gardonio
Attendance : 15,104.