Photo Credit: Garrett James
Langley, BC – The Toronto Rock (2-0) defeated the Vancouver Stealth (1-1) on Saturday night by a score of 20-11 at the Langley Events Centre in Langley, BC.
In front of an energetic crowd on national television, the Stealth sprung out of the gate and built a 3-0 lead. Something the Rock endured just a week ago when Rochester did the exact same thing to Toronto. Rock goals came from Josh Sanderson and Brett Hickey in the opening 15, but much like the Rock’s first game, they trailed by a pair after the first quarter, this time 4-2.
The second quarter was all Rock as they outscored Vancouver 8-2 and Rob Hellyer connected for half of those to the Rock a 10-6 lead at the half. Sanderson had amassed 9 points on 2 goals and 7 assists in the first 30 minutes of play.
Toronto struck for a pair of goals, ten seconds apart, before the half was 3 minutes old. Toronto’s 13th goal chased starter Tyler Richards, replacing him was Eric Penney making his NLL debut. Toronto reeled off a 6th and 7th straight goal before Vancouver broke up the run with a pair of goals before the end of the third quarter with the Rock leading 15-8.
The Rock showed no signs of slowing down as the final quarter got underway, scoring the first 3 goals and stretching their lead to 18-8. The Rock cruised to the 20-11 win from there.
“They came out with a plan to really run and we just had to weather the storm and make some adjustments to what they were doing on the floor,” said Head Coach John Lovell. “Our offence kicked in and started to be more efficient. We established some great defence and I was happy with our 5-on-5 defence. That momentum really carried into the 3rd quarter.”
Sanderson enjoyed a career night, posting 14 points on 4 goals and 10 assists. His 14 points were one shy of the Rock record of 15 points in a single game set by Garrett Billings in 2012. Quietly, Rob Hellyer scored 6 goals and added 4 assists for 10 points.
“Robbie Hellyer was hot,” said Sanderson. “I just had to get the ball to Robbie. Once we got our legs after the first five minutes, we got on a run and got (Tyler) Richards out. We didn’t let them get into a groove and it was one of those nights where things were going right.”
Brandon Miller was unflappable in goal and earned his second win of the season with 33 saves on 44 shots.
Rock goal scorers: Hellyer (6), Sanderson (4), Hickey (3), Ross (2), Hostrawser (1), Marshall (1), Leblanc (1), Beirnes (1), Gamble (1).
Following Saturday’s road game in Vancouver, the Rock will have a bye week before returning to Toronto for their 2015 home opener and GO Guaranteed Win Night. Fans looking for more information on GO Guaranteed Win Night can visit www.torontorock.com/GOGTDWIN and are also encouraged to use the hashtag #GOGTDWIN on social media leading up to the game on January 23rd at Air Canada Centre.
2015 Toronto Rock Season Tickets, Flex Packs, the Upper Bowl Season Pass and single game tickets are also all on sale now. For more information, please visit torontorock.com or call 416-596-3075 to speak with a ticket representative and get your hands on the BEST ticket in town.