Toronto – The Toronto Rock rode a 7-goal goal run through the middle of the game to down the Rochester Knighthawks 10-8 and advance to the East Division Finals next Saturday night in Buffalo.
Toronto found themselves trailing 3-1 before the game was 11 minutes old, however they would tie the game 3-3 with goals 45 seconds apart from Colin Doyle and Aaron Pascas. The score finished 3-3 through one quarter, as Bob Watson and Matt Vinc were both very strong in their respective nets.
Doyle’s goal marked the 100th career playoff point by the Rock Captain. Beyond the individual milestone, Doyle has qualified for the post-season in all but one of his 14 years in the NLL. The lone exception was his rookie season with the Ontario Raiders in 1998.
Toronto continued their run in the second quarter. Rock special teams were very good as they got a pair of powerplay goals from Garrett Billings and sandwiched between those two goals was a shorthanded marker from Patrick Merrill. Rochester was held off the scoresheet in the quarter and Toronto’s three goals fueled their five-goal run as they led 6-3 at the half.
Bob Watson continued his brilliant play in the third quarter and it wasn’t until the 10:52 mark when Rochester finally broke up Toronto’s 7-goal run. In total, the Knighthawks were held scoreless for 30 minutes and 10 seconds. Prior to Rochester’s only third quarter goal Billings completed his hat-trick, and Blaine Manning also scored as Toronto held an 8-4 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Rochester scored the first two goals of the fourth quarter to make it a two-goal game at 8-6. Doyle scored his second goal of the game to make it 9-6, but again Rochester narrowed the margin to two goals at 9-7. True to form, it was the Captain Colin Doyle putting the game away with his third of the afternoon giving the Rock a 10-7 lead. Rochester added one more late, but could get no closer as Toronto held on for the 10-8 win.
Billings and Doyle each fired home six points (3G, 3A) while Jordan Hall was the top scorer for Rochester with five points (2G, 3A).
Rock rookie forward Aaron Pascas left the game in the fourth quarter and did not return.
Saturday night, the Rock will travel to Buffalo’s HSBC Arena to face the Bandits who knocked off Boston in the other East Division Semi-Final that was played on Saturday night. Saturday’s game will be a 7:30pm start south of the border.