Toronto Closing In On Playoff Spot
Duluth, GA – The Toronto Rock (9-5) got the revenge they were looking for with a 13-9 win over the Georgia Swarm (8-7) on Friday night in Duluth, GA. The Swarm had defeated the Rock last Saturday night in Rock City.
At this point in the season, it might be more of a storyline if the Rock got off to a good start. Once again in this one, the Rock were down 3-0 before battling back to within one on a late Challen Rogers tally, making the score 3-2 in favour of the Swarm after 15 minutes.
“Unfortunately, it’s a common theme, but the good news is it’s 60 minutes of lacrosse,” said defender Brad Kri. “We knew this was a must-win game and everyone did their part.”
It really was all Rock from the second quarter on. Zach Manns tied the game 3-3 and Tom Schreiber outscored the Swarm 2-1 to give the Rock a 5-4 lead at the half.
Toronto threw Georgia to the mat in the first minute of the second half as Schreiber and Aaron Forster scored just 14 seconds apart to give the Rock a 7-4 lead 41 seconds into the third quarter. For Forster, it was his first NLL goal. The two teams traded goals, but it was Kri’s second goal of the game that restored the Rock’s three goal lead at 9-6 through three quarters.
Another three Rock goals to begin the fourth quarter put the game out of reach. The Swarm did score three more times, but Latrell Harris would block a late shot, but up the loose ball and run the length of the floor to beat Mike Poulin in the Georgia goal and ice the game.
Schreiber finished the night with four goals and three assists for a game-high seven points.
“I think we did a little better job getting over the top and I think we moved the ball a little bit better. We went over some stuff in film this week and the coaches challenged us a little bit, which was warranted, and I think we were able to make those adjustments,” said Schreiber. “At the end of the day, if you can take those losses and turn them into positives in the long run that’s going to be a good thing for the team. I think we’re able to do that from week to week and hopefully we can continue to build off that tomorrow against San Diego.”
The Rock were 2-for-7 on the power play while the Swarm went 1-for-6 with the man advantage. Toronto outshot Vancouver 55-46.
The Rock have checked a couple of boxes now on the way to possibly clinching a playoff berth this week. They got the Philadelphia loss they needed on Thursday and got the first of two weekend wins. A Rock win over San Diego on Saturday night combined with a New York loss on Saturday or Sunday and the Rock will officially clinch a postseason berth.
Rob Hellyer finished the night with four points, all assists, and that was more than enough to move him past Stephan Leblanc for fourth all-time Rock career scoring. Hellyer now sits at 604 points, while Leblanc sat at 601.
The Rock were without Josh Jubenville (IR), Bill Hostrawser (PUP) and Dan Dawson (PUP) who were all moved off the Active Roster earlier in the day.
As mentioned previously, the Rock’s next game will be back at home on Saturday night against the San Diego Seals at 7pm ET at FirstOntario Centre.
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