Toronto – The Toronto Rock have won three straight games. The Philadelphia Wings bounced back from a disappointing loss, winning their third game of the season, to move into a first place tie with the Rock. Something has to give.
Saturday night in Toronto at Air Canada Centre, the Rock and Wings will meet for the second time this season. Also, for the second time in as many meetings, first place in the NLL’s East Division will be on the line. Toronto won the first meeting 15-6 back on February 4th at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
“We’ve already forgotten about that other game,” said Rock GM and Assistant Coach Terry Sanderson. “Philadelphia wasn’t anything near what they’re going to be Saturday. There’s nothing we can draw from that first game to be honest with you. We were on our ‘A’ game, they definitely weren’t on theirs (on February 4th). We know it will be a much different challenge on Saturday night.”
In the first meeting, the game was tight through the early going but the Rock pulled away by going on several big runs as the game played out.
“We have to continue how we played the first quarter and the first seven minutes of the second quarter – it was a very close game,” said Philadelphia Head Coach and GM Johnny Mouradian. “Josh (Sanderson) scored three goals in a row and we couldn’t catch our breath. When teams score three goals in a row we have to have a refocus plan and some strategies in order to stop that and continue on to get it back to a one or two-goal game.”
Toronto goaltender Matt Roik was sensational in the first encounter between the two teams, so much so that he was recognized as the NLL’s Defensive Player of the Week for his 38-save performance. It was Roik’s best game of the season, which included 31 minutes and 56 seconds of perfection with the Rock goaltender holding the Wings scoreless.
“Matt’s really not doing anything we didn’t expect him to do,” said Sanderson. “He’s a starting goaltender in this league. Matt Roik has come in and played well enough in every game to give us an opportunity to win.”
Rock Captain Colin Doyle practiced on Tuesday and is still expected to be ready on Saturday night, but Sanderson is cautious about Doyle’s situation.
“He left practice early Tuesday night,” explained Sanderson. “We’ll talk with our head trainer Dave Murray, but we’re hoping to have Colin back in the lineup, but I can’t say at this time that he’ll be in for sure.”
Saturday night’s game will not be broadcast on TSN. You can watch live on the NLL Network on NLL.com at 7pm. For tickets to Saturday night’s game, please call 416-596-3075 or visit www.torontorock.com.
Next Friday night, the Rock will host the Rochester Knighthawks at 7pm at Air Canada Centre. Prior to the game, the Rock will retire Bob Watson’s number 29. It will be the first number ever retired by the Rock and fans are asked to arrive early and be in their seats by 6:50pm to catch the entire ceremony.