Toronto Downs Buffalo 19-15
Buffalo, NY – The Toronto Rock (9-9) defeated the Buffalo Bandits (6-12) by a score of 19-15 and got the help they needed on Saturday night as the Vancouver Stealth defeated the New England Black Wolves in OT, meaning the Rock will now host the Black Wolves on Saturday, May 6 at 7pm at Air Canada Centre.
“Blaine (Manning) whispered in my ear around the five or six minute mark of the fourth that Vancouver had won in overtime and I passed that on to Bruce (Codd),” said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer as the result of the New England game was final during the late going of the Rock’s game. “There was nothing said to the boys, you don’t want to put that in their head at that point, but we knew and we’re happy to get the win and host a playoff game.”
The teams traded goals early and were tied 2-2. The Bandits outscored the Rock 3-1 to get out to a 5-3 lead after one quarter. The Rock got a pair of goals from rookie Latrell Harris, including on shorthanded. Toronto’s other goal came from Kieran McArdle on a long, low shot that seemed to fool Buffalo goalie Anthony Cosmo.
Goals, goals, and more goals. Buffalo built an 8-5 lead that spelled the end of the night for Rock starter Nick Rose. Brandon Miller replaced Rose with just over ten minutes to play in the first half. The veteran Miller stopped five of six shots he faced, while the Rock offence picked up their socks, scoring three in a row to end the half trailing 9-8. All three Rock goals came from the red-hot stick of Brett Hickey.
The third quarter was almost a carbon copy of the second quarter, just going the other way. A late three-goal run by the Bandits put the home team up 14-12 through three quarters of play.
The Bandits opened the scoring in the fourth quarter, but the Rock got on a three-goal run of their own, tying the game 15-15 with 7:38 to play. From there, it was all Toronto Rock, scoring four more goals capping off a tremendous second half!
Single game tickets for Saturday’s East Division Semi-Final at Air Canada Centre on Saturday, May 6 at 7 p.m. will go on sale on Monday morning at 10 a.m.
2018 Toronto Rock Season Tickets and Upper Bowl Season Passes are on sale now. For more information or to purchase, please visit torontorock.com or call 416-596-3075.