Toronto, ON – The Toronto Rock (7-1) pulled off a dramatic comeback to defeat the New England Black Wolves (2-4) with Josh Sanderson being the overtime hero on Friday night at Air Canada Centre.
The Rock leaped ahead 2-0 in the early going of the first quarter. Brett Hickey opened the scoring and Stephan Leblanc followed with a powerplay marker. Kyle Buchanan and Kevin Buchanan responded with goals 3 minutes apart to square things 2-2 after the opening 15 minutes.
After building a 4-3 lead just under 5 minutes into the first quarter, the Black Wolves rattled off three straight goals to lead 6-4 at the half.
Toronto opened the second half scoring but the Black Wolves answered with 4 straight goals of their own to go up 10-5. The 9th New England goal chased Rock starter Brandon Miller from the Toronto goal giving way for Nick Rose. The Rock rallied with a pair of goals to draw to within 3 goals, trailing 10-7 at the end of the third quarter.
The two teams traded goals to open the fourth quarter, New England hanging on to an 11-8 lead. The Rock scored 3 straight goals to tie the score 11-11, with Brett Hickey’s 4th of the game being the equalizer. Rob Hellyer put the Rock ahead 12-11 with just 2:34 to play. The Black Wolves’ Kyle Buchanan continued his big night, turning the tables on the Rock and tying the game at 12-12 with 1:38 remaining. Neither team could connect in the final moments and the game headed to sudden death overtime.
New England won the opening faceoff in overtime and immediately called timeout. The Black Wolves were unsuccessful in their first possession and the Rock had a chance to win it. Josh Sanderson took the ball down the right side of the floor, drove to the net and buried the winning goal by Evan Kirk.
Miller allowed 9 goals on 31 shots in just under 35 minutes of work in the Rock goal. Rose made 21 saves on 24 shots, giving up just 3 goals in 26 minutes of cage time and earned his 3rd win of the season. Evan Kirk went the distance in the New England net, giving up 13 goals on 46 shots.
Rock goal scorers: Brett Hickey (4), Rob Hellyer (2), Stephan Leblanc (2), Josh Sanderson (2), Kevin Ross (2), Kasey Beirnes (1).
The Rock will next be at home on Saturday, March 14th when they host the Buffalo Bandits in the back half of a home-and-home. For the BEST ticket in town and more information, please visit torontorock.com or call 416-596-3075.