Toronto – One team had to leave the rink with their first loss of the season and the local fans went home happy as Toronto’s Stephan Leblanc scored his fifth goal of the game at 8:56 of overtime giving the Rock a 15-14 OT victory.
Boston and Toronto certainly showed the 9,104 in attendance why they were the last two undefeated teams in the NLL entering the weekend.
The Rock could not shake the Blazers in the first half as Boston was there with an answer each time the Rock looked as though they were going to put some distance between themselves and the visitors.
The Rock power play finally got on the board in the 2nd quarter late to go up 7-5. Toronto had only been on the power play four times through their first 2 games of the season. Edmonton is now the only team in the league who has yet to score on the power play.
The two teams exchanged goals and the Rock were able to maintain their 2 goal edge up 8-6 at the half.
The third quarter saw the Rock surrender a goal for the first time this season. In the first half of the third quarter it looked like business as usual as Toronto scored twice to build a 10-6 lead.
However, true to form, Boston answered back again with a pair of their own to shave the deficit to 10-8.
Blaine Manning restored a bit of a cushion for the Rock with an incredible one-handed effort to increase the Toronto lead to 11-8 in the late stages of the third quarter.
The three goal lead disappeared as the fourth quarter wore on. Boston scored three straight before last year’s NLL defender of the year scored his first goal of the season to put Toronto up 12-11.
Then just when you least expect it, Aaron Pascas has a glorious scoring chance and scores for the third straight game increasing the lead to 13-11 with less than 5 minutes to go. Colin Doyle scored to make it 14-12, but the Blazers got a long distance goal from Kevin Buchanan with less than a minute to go to make it 14-13. Buchanan finished the night with five goals.
Casey Powell got his fifth goal of the night to tie the game 14-14. Powell also had 4 assists on the evening to finish with 9 points. Dan Dawson also put up 9 points for the Blazers on the strength of 2 goals and 7 assists.
“We weren’t working hard enough to fight through the screen and do what we need to do,” said Rock Head Coach Troy Cordingley. “They were getting uncontested shots.”
Overtime was nothing short of breathtaking. It wasn’t the prettiest way to end a great game, but Stephan Leblanc’s 5th of the game found it’s way off a body and into the net to seal the 15-14 win for Toronto.
“I got lucky on a couple of them,” said Leblanc speaking about a couple of his five tallies on the night. “You have to give credit to Aaron (Pascas) and Colin (Doyle) for bumping bodies all night and it was just my turn to put them in the net tonight.”
There won’t be much time to enjoy the win as the Rock will head to Buffalo this evening to prepare for Saturday night’s matchup with the Bandits at 7:30pm at HSBC Arena.
The Rock return home next Saturday night when they face those same Bandits at 7pm at Air Canada Centre. The game can be seen live on TSN2.
For tickets log on to www.torontorock.com or call the Rock office at 416-596-3075.