Toronto Drops Out Of Playoff Spot… For Now
Duluth, GA – A second half rally just wasn’t enough as the Toronto Rock (7-8) fell 11-10 to the Georgia Swarm (8-7) on Sunday afternoon in Duluth, GA. Georgia’s winning goal came with just 53 seconds left in the fourth quarter as the Rock fall out of a playoff spot, one game back of Georgia, Rochester and Buffalo.
“We competed and we battled, but that’s the game sometimes, we felt like we maybe deserved a bit better but we came out on the wrong end again,” said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer following the game. “We have put ourselves in a position where the Rochester game is a must win pretty much.”
Off the opening faceoff, Rock defender Sheldon Burns ran straight through the scrum, picked up the ball and scored just eight seconds into the game. Georgia scored four straight goals before the Rock’s Reid Reinholdt scored to make it a 4-2 game. The tally by Reinholdt was the first for a Rock forward since Rob Hellyer scored against Calgary in the fourth quarter of their Mar. 24 win over the Roughnecks.
The Swarm built on their lead with a pair of goals, including one shorthanded. Toronto chipped away with a goal from Dan Lintner who caught a pass in tight while cutting to the net coming off the bench and buried a low bounce shot to close the gap to 6-3 at the end of the first half.
Rock captain Brodie Merrill got things started early for Toronto in the second half, scoring shorthanded just 1:08 into the third quarter as he elected to keep the ball on a two-on-one break and snuck a shot into the bottom right corner. The Rock’s run continued with three more before the quarter was done, highlighted by Lintner’s second goal as the crafty forward scooped up a loose ball in the Swarm crease and dove all in one motion, firing the ball into the gaping cage. The 7-6 edge was Toronto’s first lead since opening the scoring just seconds into the game.
Georgia scored first in the fourth quarter to break up the Rock’s 5-0 run. Lintner answered with his fourth goal of the game and he again answered the next Swarm goal, making it five for Lintner to restore the one-goal lead. With just under five minutes to go, the Swarm’s Miles Thompson tied the game and his brother Lyle gave the home team the lead 10-9. Brett Hickey evened the score just 48 seconds later.
With 53 seconds left, after a wild scramble, Georgia’s Jesse King scored from behind the net but there was some question as to whether or not Jordan Hall was able to establish outside the crease before King’s shot entered. After a lengthy review, the video evidence was deemed to be inconclusive by the officials and the goal stood. Toronto forced a turnover in the final seconds but the Rock were unable to capitalize and the Swarm escaped with an 11-10 win.
Lintner led the offence with five goals, while singles came from Jones, Merrill, Burns and Reinholdt. Nick Rose turned in another solid game between the pipes for the Rock stopping 29 of the 40 shots he faced but more importantly held the Swarm scoreless for almost 21 minutes allowing the Rock to get back into the game in the second half.
“It’s been a long time coming for (Lintner),” said Sawyer. “He’s somebody who deserves the success, everybody’s excited to see that. Dan knows how to put the ball in the net. He came through for us pretty big tonight.”
The Rock were without forward Tom Schreiber for a seventh consecutive game. He practiced with the team this week but was ruled out for the game and is considered week-to-week, as he gets closer to returning.
While the loss is a tough one for the Rock, it actually didn’t do much to impact their playoff chances. With head to head matchups the next two weeks against Rochester and Buffalo, those two games remain the must-wins on the Rock schedule down the stretch.
The Rock will return home on Friday, Apr. 13 for another huge East Division matchup against the Rochester Knighthawks. For more information on Toronto Rock tickets, please visit torontorock.com/tickets or call 416-596-3075.