Toronto, ON – The Toronto Rock (10-2) continued their overtime heroics, knocking off the Buffalo Bandits (6-6) by a score of 11-10 on Saturday night at Air Canada Centre one night after suffering a late loss to the same Bandits. The win also gives the Rock the head to head tiebreaker should the two teams finish tied in the final standings.
We were getting our shots but they just weren’t falling, (Anthony) Cosmo was playing really well,” said Rock forward Brett Hickey who scored the OT winner. “We thought if we kept playing our game, we would get our looks and they would end up dropping.”
It was a back and forth opening quarter that finished tied 2-2. Patrick Merrill got called for a roughing major but the Rock escaped unscathed as Billy Dee Smith took a pair of minors for the Bandits to negate the powerplay.
Toronto scored the first four goals of the second quarter to go up 6-2. Sandwiched amongst the 4 Rock goals just 2:22 apart, was the Rock’s Merrill into the rough stuff with Buffalo’s Nick Weiss. The two had a lengthy conversation during last night’s shenanigans, so it was no surprise the two got into it this evening. Merrill was bounced from the game; the fighting penalty was his second major penalty of the game.
Buffalo scored a pair to close the gap to 6-4, but the Rock’s Damon Edwards scored his second breakaway goal of the quarter to break up the Bandits’ mini-run. Josh Sanderson stretched the lead to 8-4 with his 200th career goal in a Rock uniform. Buffalo’s John Tavares scored with just 3 seconds left in the half to make it 8-5 at the break.
The Bandits set the pace in the third quarter, shutting out the Rock 4-0 in the frame and taking a 9-8 lead into the fourth quarter. It was the first time this season the Rock had been held scoreless in a quarter.
The Rock and Bandits traded goals in the fourth quarter with Buffalo clinging to a one-goal lead until the late going. With just over a minute to go, the Rock pulled their goaltender to try and tie the game. After a mad scramble, Beirnes found himself alone in front with Cosmo down and out. The veteran Rock forward made no mistake, tying the score with 1:03 to go and sending the game to overtime.
Both teams had their chances in extra time. Just over two minutes into overtime, Brett Hickey beat his man and scored his 30th goal of the season to send the Rock faithful home happy.
Rock goal scorers were Rob Hellyer (3), Brett Hickey (3), Kasey Beirnes (2), Damon Edwards (2) and Josh Sanderson (1).
Brandon Miller made 42 saves for his 6th win of the season and was named the game’s first star. Anthony Cosmo suffered the loss for the Bandits.
Toronto’s next home game will be one week from tonight when they host the Edmonton Rush at 7:30pm at Air Canada Centre. It will also be Josh Sanderson Bachly Construction bobblehead night. For the BEST ticket in town, please visit torontorock.com or call 416-596-3075.