Toronto Fell Behind By 5 In The Second Half And Almost Come All The Way Back
Hamilton, ON – The Toronto Rock (6-2) dropped their second straight at home, falling just short of coming all the way back, losing 11-10 to the Calgary Roughnecks (3-5) on Saturday night at FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton.
“We’ve been playing a little bit with fire lately and it’s too good of a league to not put in a full 60 minutes and expect to get wins,” explained Rock defender Chris Corbeil in his first game back this season after missing the first seven games. “We’ve been fortunate in a lot of ways, pulling out wins lately without putting in a full 60. But tonight it bit us and it was just too little, too late.”
The first quarter had a bit of a peculiar finish to it. The Rock had fallen behind 3-1 but scored to make it 3-2 with 1:47 left in the frame and seemed poised to get on a bit of a run. Late in the quarter the Rock pulled their goalie to go 6-on-5 and push for the tying goal, however things backfired. The Rock turned the ball over with just too much time on the clock and Calgary got a gift, with Calgary’s Robert Hudson scoring on Tom Schreiber who had raced back to try and tend to the Rock empty net, but no avail and the Roughnecks led 4-2 after one.
Mark Matthews delivered a Rock power play goal just over five minutes into the second to once again make it a one-goal game. The Roughnecks answered, however the Rock got goals from Dan Lintner and Mitch de Snoo to tie the game 5-5. Just a little over a minute after the Rock tied things up, it was Calgary transition whiz Shane Simpson that put the Roughnecks back in the driver’s seats heading into halftime up 6-5.
The third quarter was all Calgary and was truly the difference in the game. The visitors outscored the Rock 4-0 in the frame and built a 10-5 lead through 45 minutes.
The Rock were far from done. Corey Small scored his third and fourth goals of the game inside the first minute of the fourth quarter, just 32 seconds apart to shave the Calgary lead to 10-7. The Roughnecks punched back with a goal of their own to make it 11-7. The boys in blue did not quit. Justin Martin, who has been almost automatic this season, scored in transition to reignite the Rock faithful, who like their squad, never gave up.
Tom Schreiber appeared to have scored a dunk from behind the net, but a Calgary challenge wiped out that goal, and the Rock were still down 11-8. It wasn’t for long though as Small scored his fifth goal of the game to make it 11-9. Moments later it was Mark Matthews sending his second of the game past Christian Del Bianco in the Calgary net to set up a thrilling finish with the Roughnecks clinging to an 11-10 lead.
The Rock couldn’t find the equalizer in the final five plus minutes of this one and what made things more difficult was a late penalty that put the Rock shorthanded for the final 1:53 of the game.
“We’ve had a few games this year where we’ve come out slow and we’ve been able to kind of battle back and pull-out wins,” said Small. “It was really just a matter of time before one of those came back to bite us. And, good on us for not quitting, but you can’t put yourself in a hole night in night out and expect to win games.”
This week, it was Calgary’s Del Bianco getting the better of Toronto’s Nick Rose in the matchup of two of the league’s best goaltenders. Del Bianco made 44 saves, while Rose made 38 stops. The Rock outshot the Roughnecks 54-49. In an odd twist in this back-to-back set of games between the two teams, it was the team with more shots that came out on the wrong end of the result.
The Rock were 4-for-6 on the power play while the Roughnecks went 1-for-5.
Next weekend, the Rock will travel to Montreal to face the New York Riptide in the NLL Unboxed Series at Place Bell in Laval, QC on Friday night on TSN.
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