With every game counting as the 2007 season draws to a close, the Rock entered Chicago’s Sears Centre looking to solidify their spot in the playoffs once again. Losing last night to Minnesota at home, Toronto was looking to extend its winning streak to two games against the expansion Shamrox. A win tonight would have given the Rock a cushion going into the final week of the regular season, however the Shamrox, who are mathematically out of the play offs, played spoiler and won the game 15-13.
The Rock started aggressively on offense but the Shamrox defense managed to stop everything going in. With the stakes high, the game got physical very quickly with both teams laying the body on any and everyone. Despite the Rock’s great defensive play, especially that of the Bob Watson, Chicago would manage to score the only two goals of the first quarter. The Rock were out shot in the first half 28-24, but managed to break the shut out and ended up leading Chicago 4-3 with Chris Driscoll accounting for half the output.
The third quarter would be where Chicago would begin to assert themselves. The Shamrox would seemingly put a spell on the Toronto defense scoring eight goals to Toronto’s three in the period taking a commanding lead into the final frame. Toronto seemed to not have an answer for the energized Chicago offense coming out of the halftime break. The quarter would end with the Rock down 11-7.
The fourth seemed to be a formality with the Shamrox’ big third quarter, but the Rock were not ready to roll over. Despite being down by six goals midway through fourth, Toronto would look to catch Chicago. The Rock gave up to easy goals on empty nets when they pulled the goalie, they would still outscore the Shamrox 5-2 in the final ten minutes with three coming with under five minutes remaining. A late penalty to Aaron Wilson left Toronto to play short handed for the final two and a half minutes. The Rock’s late rally would only be stopped by time and they would eventually succumb to the clock losing to Chicago 15-13. The Rock played valiantly in spite of the score.
Toronto was led in points by Ryan Benesch who recorded a game high seven points (3 goals, 4 assists), followed by both Josh Sanderson and Blaine Manning with one goal and four assists each. Aaron Wilson also tallied five points (2 goals, 3 assists).
Despite a great first half between the pipes, including a 15 save second quarter, Bob Watson would record the loss making 31 saves for the night.
Chicago was lead on offense by Matt Giles who scored four goals and had two assists, followed Rusty Kruger, Chris Panos and Kevin Leveille with five points each.
The Rock (6-9) are now down to the last week of the regular season. Their play offs hopes are still alive even though Philadelphia had won their game against New York. Toronto will need to win their next game to fan the fire of the post season. The Rock will play their final regular season game against the New York Titans at the ACC at 7:30 p.m. EST on April 14th 2007.