The National Lacrosse League announced today that Toronto Rock rookie forward, Stephan Leblanc received Overall Player and Rookie of the Week honours. Leblanc contributed 17 points towards the Rock’s pair of weekend wins, nabbing both game MVP nods.
“Steph had a fantastic weekend; he grew as a player,” said Rock GM and assistant coach Terry Sanderson. “We needed some big-time goals against Calgary, he stepped up as a presence and scored them. That was big.
“To have him put in a duplicate effort, which you seldom get in this league, and have back-to-back great games paints a nice picture of Steph and of the Rock’s performance last weekend.”
Leblanc scored four goals on Friday, including the game winner, and assisted on three others as Toronto snapped a five-game losing streak.
On Saturday in Philadelphia, the Rock dominated the Wings with help from Leblanc’s five goals and five assists. Toronto killed Philadelphia’s two-game win streak to begin one of their own.
The 9-8 home win over the Calgary Roughnecks and 13-6 road win over the Philadelphia Wings were crucial not only for standings but for team morale.
“The guys deserved a better ending in a few of those losses,” said Sanderson. “Working as hard as they have been and not getting the results, this was very important. The wins were huge.”
The Dundas, ON native now has 73 points on the season, and sits second in league goals with 31. He also is atop of the league leader board in consistency, scoring at least once goal in each of Toronto’s 14 games this season.
A self-proclaimed ‘bang and crash’ guy, Leblanc caught the eye of the Rock coaching staff because “he didn’t mind smashing bodies and going to the net”.
“I can’t say we expected this from him, but after watching him for a while it’s not that surprising,” said Sanderson. “We drafted him because we felt he had a knack for the game.
“He’s a sponge. He listens to all the guys and he soaks up everything.”
This is Leblanc’s third Rookie nod, and first Overall Player recognition. The NLL Weekly Player Awards are determined each week by a vote of the General Managers & Head Coaches of the league’s eleven member clubs.
Leblanc and the Rock are back in action this weekend when they visit the 6-7 Buffalo Bandits at HSBC Arena on Saturday, April 10. Game time is 7:30 p.m. ET and fans across Canada can catch the game live on TSN2. With a win this weekend, or two Rochester losses, the Rock can clinch an East Division playoff spot.