Boston – The Toronto Rock now sit at 4-2 on the season after dropping a close 9-7 decision to the Boston Blazers at TD Garden on Saturday night.
Former Toronto Rock Geoff McNulty got his Boston Blazers on the score sheet early. His goal was followed by 10 and-a-half minutes of missed opportunities for both clubs.
Making his presence felt in his return to the lineup after missing last weekend’s game, Garrett Billings scored on the powerplay to even the score at 1-1 late in the second quarter.
Aaron Pascas found himself wide open in the early going of the second quarter with a lot of attention focused on everyone else. He took advantage of his time and space to give Toronto their first lead of the night.
The Blazers powerplay gave them the help they needed at as Kevin Buchanan scored for Boston. Buchanan had a monster game the first time these teams played this season scoring 5 goals.
Dan Dawson built some momentum for the Blazers and got the crowd into it connecting on his 300th career goal to give his club a 3-2 lead.
Buchanan fired another laser from outside to build the Boston lead to 4-2 just past the halfway point of the quarter.
The Rock then took a penalty for too many men, and Boston made them pay quickly. Casey Powell cranked once, stepped in and fired a shot by Bob Watson in the Toronto goal making it 5-2.
The Boston defence continued to come up with the stops they needed and Toronto’s offence couldn’t find their groove. At the same time, Boston’s offence seemed to be feeding off their strong defensive play and Dawson struck for his second of the game with less than a minute to go in the first half to stretch the Blazers lead to 6-2 at the half.
“We showed no sense of urgency in the first half,” expressed Cordingley. We were lethargic, had no energy, and missed passes, overall we were not good.”
Billings scored his second of the game for the Rock on the PP and then Dawson got his third of the game for the Blazers at even strength as the two teams exchanged goals. Boston still holding a four goal lead, 7-3.
Garrett Billings fired home his third of the game on a great solo effort going hard to the net, diving across the crease and burying the ball behind Anthony Cosmo in the Boston goal to make it 7-4 late in the third quarter.
With just over two minutes to play in the quarter, Blaine Manning drove hard to the net, got the pass he needed and cashed in to draw Toronto back to within two goals, trailing 7-5.
Just when the Rock seemed to be building some momentum, Buchanan drilled home his third goal of the game, sticking the ball in the top left corner restoring a three-goal edge for Boston, 8-5.
Stephan Leblanc scored early to close the gap to 8-6 and that was followed by a Kasey Beirnes powerplay goal to make it 8-7.
However, Josh Sanderson quickly derailed Toronto’s apparent shift in momentum by scoring his first goal of the game putting Boston back ahead by a pair once again 9-7.
“We showed some willingness to battle in the second half,” said Cordingley. “We showed more desire and will in the second half and that translated directly into opportunities in the second half that weren’t there in the first half.”
The Rock could get no closer in the final stages of regulation as the Blazers were victorious on home floor and improved to 4-3 on the season.
“As a five man unit we struggled at times,” expressed Cordingley. “In the second half we were better, we made some improvements and some adjustments. However, we’ve now scored 8 and 7 goal games back to back and you’re not going to win a lot of games in this league scoring that many goals.”
Billings’ hat-trick made him the only multi-goal scorer for the Rock on the evening. Bob Watson made 37 saves and was credited with his first loss of the season.
Saturday, February 12th, the Rock are back home against their Western Canadian foes the Calgary Roughnecks. Game time at Air Canada Centre is 7:00pm ET. The game will be broadcast live on TSN2 at 7:00pm ET.