Toronto – The Rock and Bandits don’t like each other. The opening minutes of Saturday night’s 8-5 Rock win in Toronto certainly reinforced that fact.
There were 8 fighting majors and 5 game misconducts assessed by the time the game was just over 5 minutes old. There was a lot of heat between the two teams right off the hop.
Mat MacLeod opened the scoring for Toronto driving hard to the goal. A minor scuffle ensued, but on the next possession at the other end of the floor a larger skirmish took place with a couple of players ejected, one from each side.
Brett Bucktooth scored on the power play for Buffalo to even the score, but Colin Doyle responded just seconds later to restore Toronto’s one-goal lead before the end of the first quarter.
The Rock stretched their lead to 3-1 when Blaine Manning found the net for his 8th goal of the season 9:11 into the frame. The Manning goal was the only tally of the second quarter and the Rock carried the two-goal lead into the half.
Rookie Aaron Pascas continued his knack for scoring goals at key moments in the game as he struck for Toronto’s first goal of the second half to put Toronto up 4-1.
As he has done in every game he has played in the NLL, Stephan Leblanc scored as he picked up a loose ball in front to put Toronto up 5-1.
Colin Doyle brought the crowd to their feet with Bandit defender Clay Hill hanging all over him, as he cashed in shorthanded to increase Toronto’s lead to 6-1.
The Bandits scored the first two goals of the fourth quarter, to close the gap to 6-3 and then won a challenge on a Kasey Beirnes goal just when looked as though the Rock had got a goal to swing the momentum.
However, the Bandits continued to carry the momentum scoring immediately after the challenged goal was disallowed to shave the Rock lead to just two goals at 6-4.
Tracey Kelusky scored a weird one as he picked up the ball behind the net and fired it at Bob Watson who was ducking to get out of the way of the shot. Kelusky’s shot hit Watson and bounced into the Rock goal making it 6-5.
Rock captain Colin Doyle scored with 2:44 to go in the fourth quarter. Buffalo challenged but the officials stuck with the call on the floor and the goal stood giving Toronto a 7-5 lead.
Doyle’s fourth of the game fell into the empty net with 18 seconds remaining to seal the 8-5 Rock victory.
Next week the Rock travel to Boston for their second meeting of the season with the Blazers at 7:30pm at the TD Garden. The game will be broadcast live on TSN2 at 7:30pm.