Toronto Loses For First Time On The Road This Season
Buffalo, NY – Despite outshooting the Buffalo Bandits (3-5) 60-42, the Toronto Rock (5-3) suffered their first road loss of the season on Saturday night by a score of 15-12 at the KeyBank Centre in Buffalo, NY in front of 14,803 rabid Bandits fans.
“We gave up several possessions right after we scored goals and they put the ball in our net. It didn’t give us a chance to build momentum,” said Rock head coach Matt Sawyer. “We’re not going to win a game on the road with that kind of performance. We just weren’t very good and got away from the things that made us successful.”
Toronto dug themselves an early hole, trailing 2-0 less than three minutes into the opening frame. Down 3-1, the Rock power play struck for a pair of goals amidst a three-goal run to take a 4-3 lead. The Bandits connected for a power play goal of their own to tie the game and Mark Steenhuis put the Bandits ahead again, 5-4 to close out the first quarter.
Buffalo built a 7-5 lead just past the three-minute mark of the second quarter, but the Rock once again showed some resiliency scoring three in a row to lead 8-7. Buffalo’s Blaze Riorden scored on the power play to tie the game 8-8 heading into halftime.
Stephan Leblanc opened the second half scoring with a power play goal to give the Rock a 9-8 lead. This time it was Buffalo’s turn to go on a three-goal run, surging ahead 11-9 and seemingly gaining all the momentum. However, that didn’t last too long as Brett Hickey put an outside shot seemingly right through Buffalo netminder Anthony Cosmo, bringing the Rock back to within one trailing 11-10 going into the fourth quarter.
After a very quiet first six minutes of the quarter, Hickey made it two in a row, tying the game 11-11. Buffalo took the lead again, only to have captain Brodie Merrill look-off Hickey in transition and bury a low shot by Cosmo to tie the game 12-12 with just over five minutes to play. Alex Kedoh Hill recovered a loose ball at mid floor and took the ball hard to the net giving the Bandits a 13-12 lead with just over two minutes to play. Craig England added an insurance marker just seconds later. Dhane Smith scored his only goal of the night into an empty net with seconds to play.
Rock goal scorers were Brett Hickey, Phil Caputo, Turner Evans, Challen Rogers and Stephan Leblanc all with two. Singles came from Dan Lintner and Brodie Merill.
The Rock’s next home game is Friday, March 3 against the New England Black Wolves at Air Canada Centre. It’s also Star Wars Charity Night with proceeds from the evening’s fundraising efforts going towards the Smilezone Foundation. For tickets, please call 416-596-3075 or visit torontorock.com.