Edmonton, AB – The Toronto Rock (9-7) defeated the Edmonton Rush (6-10) by a score of 12-11 on Saturday night at Rexall Place in Edmonton. In the process, the Rock clinched the NLL’s East Division title and home floor advantage throughout the divisional playoffs.
With the later start in Edmonton, before the first half was over the Rock had already clinched the East Division title as Rochester defeated Philadelphia by a score of 9-7 to drop Philadelphia to 7-9 on the season and also to third place in the East. The Rock win simply cemented the title for Toronto.
The Rock will open the 2012 NLL playoffs with their East Division Semi-Final game on Saturday, May 5th at 7pm against the Buffalo Bandits at Air Canada Centre.
Entering the game, Rock forward Garrett Billings led Philadelphia’s Dan Dawson by 2 assists for not only the league lead, but also the NLL single-season record. Dawson was quiet and only picked up a single assist while Billings had 3 assists to finish with 82 on the year and sole possession of the league assist record.
Billings not only set the league assist record, but with 8 points (5 goals, 3 assists) he also broke the Rock single-season points record of 111 previously set by Colin Doyle in 2005. Billings finished the regular season with 114 points, just 2 points behind league leader John Grant Jr. of Colorado.
The Rock opened the scoring with a goal from Billings, followed by Scott Johnston’s first career NLL goal to take a 2-0 lead. Edmonton’s Scott Evans answered back with a powerplay goal to close the Rush to within a goal making it 2-1 after the first quarter.
Toronto scored four straight goals to build a 6-1 lead out right off the hop in the second quarter. Edmonton clawed back to trail by four at the half 7-3.
The second half did not start well for the Rock, and the entire third quarter saw the Rush take advantage of their opportunities. Edmonton struck for a pair of powerplay goals, a shorthanded marker and also cashed in on chances in transition to get right back into it. A 6-2 third quarter for the Rush meant it was tied 9-9 through three quarters.
The Rush took a pair of leads in the fourth quarter but the Rock fought back to come out on top 12-11.
The Toronto Rock will practice Tuesday night in preparation the NLL East Division Semi-Final and beginning defence of their NLL Championship at home on Saturday, May 5th at 7pm when they host the Buffalo Bandits at Air Canada Centre. Tickets are on sale now by visiting www.torontorock.com. Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on TSN and will also be available on TSN Mobile TV.