Six Nations, Ontario – The Toronto Rock saw a brief glimpse of the type of goaltender Matt Roik can be, however there wasn’t much else to be happy with from the perspective of the defending NLL Champions as they fell 11-4 to a determined Edmonton Rush squad on Saturday night in Six Nations.
The Rush led 5-2 after one quarter and 9-4 at the half as Rock starter Pat Campbell allowed all 9 first half goals in the Rock cage. The Rock offence never got going as they failed to score a goal in the second half of play going down 11-4 through three quarters. Neither team could score in the fourth quarter as both the Rock and Rush fired blanks in the final fifteen minutes.
“I thought our shooting was atrocious at times, but at the same time they got some big saves in the early going as well,” said Head Coach Troy Cordingley following the loss. “We made bad passes and dropped a lot of balls against a team that is better defensively than a year ago. They outworked us, and just flat out won the battles that win you lacrosse games.”
One of the bright spots was the second half performance of goaltender Matt Roik who put on a clinic in the fourth quarter with some breathtaking saves. Roik was acquired in the off-season and has been given an opportunity to replace the now retired Bob Watson as the starting goaltender in Toronto.
“We were very pleased with what we saw from Matt,” said Cordingley. “We definitely hung him out to dry more than once in the fourth quarter and he bailed us out with save after save. We gave up a lot of quality scoring chances and he was there with the big stop every time.”
Another player who stood out for the Rock on the defensive side was veteran defender Bruce Codd. The 12-year NLL veteran was signed as an unrestricted free agent in the off-season after spending the last four years playing for the Calgary Roughnecks.
“He is such a smart defender,” remarked Cordingley when speaking about the gritty Codd. “He was our loose ball leader and his high lacrosse IQ was on display tonight without a doubt.”
Rock Scoring: Colin Doyle (1G, 2A), Dan Carey (1G, 1A), Rob Hellyer (1G, 1A), Blaine Manning (1G), Garrett Billings (2A), Shawn Udema (1A), Bruce Codd (1A).
Aaron Wilson and Scott Tinning each had a pair of goals for the visiting Rush.
The Rock will regroup with another training camp session on Sunday night in Six Nations. Following that, there will be just one final on-floor tune-up before the team heads to Langley, British Columbia for an exhibition game against the Washington Stealth one week from tonight. The Rock and Stealth have met in the NLL final for the past two consecutive seasons with each team winning once.
Sunday, January 8th at Air Canada Centre will mark the beginning of the 2012 regular season for the Toronto Rock. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.torontorock.com or by calling the Rock head office at 416-596-3075.