Everett, WA – The Toronto Rock (8-7) clinched a home playoff game with a 16-13 win over the Washington Stealth (4-11) at Comcast Arena on Friday night in Everett, Washington. The win secures a first round home playoff game for the Rock as they will open defence of their NLL Championship on Saturday, May 5th at 7pm at Air Canada Centre.
The first quarter was a dead heat as each team capitalized on power play opportunities and the game was even at 4-4 through one quarter. However, the story of the first quarter was a pair of Rock milestones.
First it was Garrett Billings topping the 100-point mark with an assist on a Kasey Beirnes’ goal at 9:15 of the opening quarter. No Rock player had hit the century mark since Colin Doyle (111 points), Blaine Manning (105 points) and Josh Sanderson (102 points) all did it in 2005.
The second milestone came with just 1:03 left in the first quarter when Colin Doyle drew an assist on Beirnes’ power play goal. The point pushed Doyle past NLL hall of famer Gary Gait into second place in NLL all-time scoring with 1166 points.
The Rock scored early in the second quarter to regain the lead and jump ahead 5-4. The Rock defence took control from there and limited the Stealth to just 7 shots in the quarter and more importantly held them scoreless. Toronto would add a pair of goals before the end of the second quarter, including one shorthanded from Brenden Thenhaus, to lead 7-4 at the half.
After exchanging goals in the early portion of the third quarter, Washington closed the gap to a goal with scores from Athan Iannucci on the power play and Rhys Duch shorthanded making it 8-7. Late in the third, Doyle would outwait Stealth goalie Tyler Richards and bury a low shot by the Washington keeper to give the Rock a 9-7 lead heading to the final quarter.
An absolutely wild fourth quarter featured a combined 13 goals with the Rock outscoring the Stealth 7-6 in the final 15 minutes to gain the victory.
Stephan Leblanc (2 goals, 4 assists) and Josh Sanderson (4 goals, 2 assists) each scored 6 points to lead the Rock offensive attack. Kasey Beirnes scored 4 goals and added an assist for 5 points. Nick Rose earned his fourth win in five starts making 32 saves en route to the victory.
Toronto Rock playoff tickets will go on sale Monday as fans will have a chance to purchase a 3-game playoff pack and guarantee a seat to each of Toronto’s three potential home playoff games.
Single-game tickets for the Rock’s first round playoff game on Saturday, May 5th at Air Canada Centre will be available exclusively to Rock Insiders on Tuesday, April 24th at 10am through ticketmaster.ca. Rock Insiders will be emailed the special link to purchase these tickets.
Single-game tickets for the Rock’s first round playoff game will be available to the general public beginning on Wednesday, April 25th at 10am. For more information on Rock playoff tickets, please visit www.torontorock.com.
Next week, the Rock will wrap up their regular season with a third consecutive trip out west. Saturday night, Toronto travels to Edmonton to face the Rush at 9pm ET. Tune in to TSN2 for all the action as the Rock chase the East Division title and home floor advantage throughout the East Division playoffs.