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Rock Drop Home Opener To New England


Toronto Offence Stalled In Season Opening Loss

Toronto, ON – Saturday night marked the beginning of a new NLL season for the six-time champion Toronto Rock at Scotiabank Arena.  On this night, the visiting New England Black Wolves (1-0) played the role of spoilers, defeating the Rock (0-1) by a score of 12-8.

The Rock’s final two pre-season games were marked with bad starts that the team wasn’t able to overcome as those games ended with a tie and a loss.  Tonight, the Rock started very well, scoring twice in the opening 1:09 of the first quarter.  That 2-0 lead quickly evaporated, and the home side was forced to play from behind all night.

“We had a good start tonight, but we were quick to give them momentum after that,” said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer.  “We just made too many mistakes throughout the night.  We shot ourselves in the foot with some bad penalties and some missed assignments and weren’t able to capitalize on that good start.”

Signed as an unrestricted free agent in the off-season, NLL all-time great Dan Dawson’s homecoming was spoiled, however he did score a pair of goals in his Rock debut, including the first goal of the game.

“We didn’t play a smart game tonight,” said Dawson. “They outworked us, they executed better than us and that leads to a loss.”

The Rock trailed 4-3 after the first quarter and 8-6 at halftime.  Johnny Powless and Adam Jones scored less than two minutes apart to open the third quarter, tying the game 8-8.  New England wasted little time answering and built an 11-8 lead through three quarters.

Neither team was able to get their offence rolling in the third period, largely because of the great goaltending at both ends of the floor with Rock goalie Nick Rose and Black Wolves’ netminder Doug Jamieson slamming the door.  The only goal of the quarter was a New England empty net tally that sealed the Rock’s fate.

In total, the Rock offence was held off the board for the final 24:05 of play, which is not a recipe for success at any time.

Rock goal scorers on the evening were Dawson and Powless with a pair each.  Jones, Rob Hellyer, Dan Craig and Challen Rogers each scored once.

The Rock were 2-for-6 on the powerplay.  A key point in the game was a five-minute major late in the third quarter that Toronto was unable to score on and took a penalty to negate the advantage with 1:37 remaining in the infraction charged to the Black Wolves’ Stephan Leblanc.  New England was 3-for-7 on the man advantage.

Rose made 39 saves in the loss while Jamieson stopped 46 shots to get the win.

The Rock will have the opportunity to put this loss behind them when they make their first-ever trip to San Diego to face the Seals next Saturday night.  Fans can watch the game at 10 p.m. ET with a subscription to Bleacher Report Live.

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