The Toronto Rock were looking to lock down the high scoring Philadelphia Wings on the road at the Wachovia Center for their first win tonight and the game would prove to be close at the end, but the Rock were unable to finish ahead losing to the Wings in a nail biter game 10 – 9.
Philadelphia opened the scoring in the first quarter with goals in the first two minutes by Keith Cromwell and Sean Greenhalgh. Taking advantage of an early powerplay, Toronto countered quickly with a goal from Aaron Wilson. The two teams would trade goals with the advantage to the Wings who ended the quarter leading 3 – 2.
The second quarter started off with Josh Sanderson scoring his second goal of the season early on and seemed to set the tone for the quarter. The Rock outscored the Wings three goals to one. Toronto was able to advance the ball well through the first half leading to their 5 – 4 going into the break with goals from Aaron Wilson and rookie Ryan Benesch.
Benesch scored his second goal of the night early in the third quarter, while the Wings looked to take back the lead. Philly rookie Athan Iannucci led the charge and brought his team back scoring a hat trick in a two and half minute span. A two man advantage for the Wings would lead to another goal putting the Rock down by two. Toronto equalized the score with goals from Matt Shearer and defenseman Derek Suddons tying the game at eight all to end the period.
The fourth quarter would be a defensive battle. Both teams kept the other at bay with stifling double teams and hard checks. The go ahead goal came on a two on one break for the Wings which resulted in a goal by Philly forward Geoff Snider. Toronto had one last chance to score with under a minute remaining but were unable to get a good shot on the net. The Wings would run out the clock to end the game.
The Rock showed an improved defense that looked more aggressive attacking the ball.
Also much improved was the Toronto’s powerplay defense only allowing three goals in eleven powerplay opportunities. Conversely, Toronto was very efficient on the offensive end scoring nine goals on forty shots while converting three of five powerplay chances.
The Wings took out shot the Rock, but the lightening quick reflexes of veteran goaltender Bob Watson stopped 42 shots, quite a few of them point blank shots in traffic.
The Rock point leaders tonight were last week’s NLL Rookie of the Week Ryan Benesch and veteran Blaine Manning who both recorded five points, Benesch on three goals and two assists and Manning on one goal and four assists. Aaron Wilson followed with two goals and two assists for four points.
The Rock (0 – 3) will head to the HSBC Arena to face the Buffalo Bandits next Friday night to begin a home and home series in search of their first win of the season.