Game Preview: Rock @ Wings
Saturday, March 22nd, 2014
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
The Rock ended a 3 game losing streak with a dramatic overtime win over the Minnesota Swarm on March 16th. They held the Swarm to just 4 goals in the first 3 quarters, but were shut out in the 4th, allowing Minnesota to tie the score at 8 and send the game to overtime. Just over a minute into the extra frame Josh Sanderson fed Captain Colin Doyle, who scored the winner making it a 9-8 final. Doyle led the team with 3G-3A-6PTS Garrett Billings, put up 3G-3A-6PTS.
The last time the Rock met the Wings was the Rock’s largest margin of victory this season. The 20-10 win was led by Garrett Billings’ 12 points and cemented by 41 saves by goaltender Nick Rose.
Heading into Saturday’s game, the Rock sit third in the East Division, four games back of the Buffalo Bandits and the Rochester Knighthawks. A victory will help push the Rock one step closer to clinching a playoff spot in the East as they will hold the head-to-head divisional tie breaker over both Philadelphia and Minnesota.
The Biggest news of the week came at the trade deadline as the Rock moved transition player Kyle Belton and a 2nd and 4th round pick in 2014 NLL Draft to the Philadelphia Wings for veteran goaltender Brandon Miller.
The Rock added more depth by picking up free agents Jimmy Purves, who was released by the Rochester Knighthawks, and Kevin Ross who was released by the Philadelphia Wings. In order to make room on the roster, the Rock released both Dustin Dunn and A.J. Masson. Veteran Defenceman Chris White has been placed on injured reserve with a lower body injury. On the day of the NLL’s roster freeze deadline, the Rock announced that they had signed defenceman Cam Woods to the practice roster. Woods, who announced his retirement prior to the 2014 season, was part of the Rock’s 2011 championship team. Mike Lum-Walker was added to the active roster and placed Eric Law on the holdout list.
Injury Report :
D Nick Diachenko (Lower Body)
D Chris White (Lower Body)
Rock Fact: The Rock are tied with the Philadelphia Wings for the most NLL Championships at 6.
The Wings were riding a 2-game winning streak last time they flew into Air Canada Centre, before losing 20-10 to the Rock on February 7th. Since then, they have lost 6 straight games and are 4th place in the East Division with a record of 3-9.
Kyle Buchanan leads all Philadelphia forwards in assists (35) and points (51). Jordan Hall is a close second with 24G-23A-47PTS. Veterans Tracey Kelusky, Ryan Ward and Kevin Crowley round out the offence for the Wings.
Brodie Merrill anchors the Wings defence and leads the team in PIMS (23) and loose balls (126). C.J Costabile and Joel White are also key components to Philadelphia’s defence.
Between The Pipes:
With the Miller trade to Toronto, Evan Kirk is their go to guy in net and has played the majority of games this season compiling a 6-3 record with a 11.58 GAA and 0.762 Save %.
Who To Watch:
Jordan Hall was not in the lineup on February 7th in Toronto and is still 2nd in team scoring despite playing in just 10 of the teams 12 games this season. Kyle Belton if he is in the lineup, will play his first game against his former teammates after being the key piece in the Miller trade last week going to Philadelphia.
The Toronto Rock will return home to Air Canada Centre on Sunday afternoon, March 30th as they host the Edmonton Rush for their Charity Game. The game will feature a live jersey auction of special throwback jerseys from the 99/00 season. A trip to Las Vegas courtesy of Transat Holidays will also be auctioned off at the game. Proceeds will go towards Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, including $1 from all tickets sold. For tickets:http://bit.ly/1p4k9P7