Uncasville, CT – The Toronto Rock did it all by themselves. On Friday night, the Rock (14-4) defeated the New England Black Wolves (4-13) by a score of 10-7 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The Rock win clinched them the first overall seed for the entire 2015 Champion’s Cup Playoffs.
“It’s a credit to how hard we worked from day one,” said Rock Head Coach John Lovell of the Rock earning the first round bye. “It’s kind of been inspiring when I look at it to see how we played this year, it’s pretty special.”
The Rock surrendered the first goal of the game just 12 seconds into the first quarter when New England’s Kevin Buchanan picked up a loose ball off the opening faceoff. Jesse Gamble tied the game on a low to high shot just over two minutes later. The two teams traded goals and finished the first quarter tied 2-2.
Toronto scored 3 straight goals to open the second quarter and jump out to a 5-2 lead. The Black Wolves broke up Toronto’s four-goal run but the Rock had another answer to hang on to a three-goal lead. New England’s Pat Saunders scored late in the half to draw the Black Wolves to within two goals, trailing 6-4 at the half.
Each team scored just once in the third quarter, but the Toronto goal was a milestone marker. Brett Hickey’s fourth goal of the game was also his 50th goal of the season. It is the first time anyone has scored 50 goals in a season in Rock franchise history.
On that historic Hickey goal, Josh Sanderson drew an assist, which was his 4th of the game. It was also his 83rd of the season eclipsing the previous NLL assist record of 82, held by former Rock forward Garrett Billings who set the record in 2012 with Toronto.
The Rock outdistanced the Black Wolves 3-2 in the final 15 minutes. Two of the Rock goals came from Colin Doyle as he capped off a 5-point night (2 goals, 3 assists) in his first game of 2015.
Rock goal scorers were Hickey (4), Doyle (2), Sanderson (2), Kasey Beirnes (1), Gamble (1).
Brandon Miller went the distance in goal, making 41 saves and improved his record to 8-2 on the season. Evan Kirk got the loss for New England.
The bye means the Rock will host Game 2 of the East Division Final on Saturday, May 23rd at 7pm at Air Canada Centre. Their opponent will be the winner of the East Division Semi-Final between Rochester and Buffalo that will be played next weekend. Tickets for Game 2 of the East Division Final will go on sale on Tuesday at 10am.
Toronto Rock Playoff Packs are now on sale. Lock in your seats and the best pricing for the entire Champion’s Cup Playoffs today. For the BEST ticket in town and more information, please visit torontorock.com/playoffpack or call 416-596-3075.