EDMONTON, AB – The Edmonton Rush (8-0) defeated the Toronto Rock (4-5) by a score of 11-10 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta on Friday night. The win by the Rush tied the 1993 Buffalo Bandits with 8 straight wins to begin the season.
Just 20 seconds into the game, Toronto’s Scott Johnston and Edmonton captain Chris Cobeil engaged in a fight that set the tone for a fast paced and physical opening 15 minutes. The Rock gave up the first goal, but battled back and took their first lead of the game when Kasey Beirnes scored his first of the quarter. After the score was knotted at 3-3, Beirnes scored his second of the quarter with less than a second left in the opening frame to give the Rock a 4-3 lead after one.
After the Rock built a 5-3 lead, the Rush scored twice to even the score 5-5 at the half with one of the two goals coming on the powerplay.
The Rush enjoyed a 5-on-3 powerplay to begin the second half and connected immediately to take a 6-5 lead just 21 seconds into the quarter. The Rock powerplay had an answer later in the quarter as Beirnes scored his third goal of the game with the third quarter tied 6-6 at its conclusion.
A Josh Sanderson powerplay goal gave the Rock a 7-6 lead, however Edmonton scored three straight to give them a 2-goal lead at 9-7. After the two teams exchanged goals, Scott Johnston scored in transition to close the gap to just a goal with the Rock trailing 10-9. Edmonton scored an empty net goal to lead 11-9 with less than a minute to go, but Stephan Leblanc scored with 33.8 left to set up a thrilling finish.
In transition, the Rock called timeout to set up one last shot for captain Colin Doyle but Rush netminder Aaron Bold was up to the task and preserved Edmonton’s narrow victory.
Garrett Billings led the Rock point parade with a 6-point game (2 goals, 4 assists). Other Rock goal scorers were Beirnes with 3, Leblanc with a pair and Sanderson, Johnston and Colin Doyle scored one apiece.
The Rock will finish their western road swing on Saturday night with a game in Calgary against the Roughnecks. The game can be seen live on TSN2 at 9pm ET. Toronto returns home after a bye week for a St .Patty’s Day matchup with the Rochester Knighthawks on Saturday, March 15th at 7pm at Air Canada Centre. For more information, please visit www.torontorock.com or phone 416-596-3075 to speak with a ticket representative get your hands on the BEST ticket in town.