Photo: Dale MacMillan
Edmonton, AB – The Toronto Rock (8-1) needed overtime to win their fourth road game of the season 16-15, defeating the Edmonton Rush (4-3) at Rexall Place on Friday night. Rob Hellyer capped a 10-point night with the game winning goal 4:17 into the extra frame.
“I don’t know what to say, there was times that we looked offensively dominating and at times we looked defensively dominating. And then it looked like we didn’t have a clue at either end of the floor. It was a funny game, I’m sure they think the same things. Brandon Miller stood tall when we really needed him at the end and I guess we just got lucky again,” said Rock Head Coach John Lovell.
There wasn’t much variety in the goal scorers for each team in the opening quarter. Zack Greer scored a pair for Edmonton to jump out to a 2-0 lead less than 5 minutes into the first quarter. The Rock were held off the board until the 10:29 mark when Kasey Beirnes scored his first of 2 goals, the second coming just 53 seconds later. The score was even 2-2 after the first quarter.
Rob Hellyer scored twice, the first coming just 35 seconds into the second frame to give the Rock a 4-2 lead. With Toronto up 5-4, Kevin Ross and Hellyer scored 38 seconds apart to stake the Rock to a 7-4 lead. With just 29 seconds left in the first half, Edmonton’s Mark Matthews closed the gap to 7-5 at the break.
Edmonton made it a one-goal game at 7-6, but the Rock rattled off 3 straight goals to lead 10-6. Just as quickly, Jeremy Thompson was dominant in the faceoff circle and Edmonton scored 3 goals in 18 seconds to bring the Rush to within a goal at 10-9. Toronto would score 3 of the next 4 goals to take a 13-10 lead into the fourth quarter.
Toronto built a 15-11 lead, however that didn’t last long. Edmonton scored four straight goals to tie the game 15-15 and electrify their fans. The Rush had numerous chances to end the game in regulation but Brandon Miller was stellar in the Rock goal and robbed Matthews in the dying seconds of the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime.
Both teams seemed to be running out of gas as the seconds ticked off in overtime, so fittingly it was a bit of a squeaker that got by Aaron Bold in the Edmonton net from the stick of Hellyer to win it.
Hellyer (5 goals, 5 assists) and Josh Sanderson (2 goals, 8 assists) finished with 10 points each to lead all scorers. Other Rock goal scorers were Beirnes (3), Brett Hickey (2), Stephan Leblanc (2), Brodie Merrill (1) and Ross (1).
Miller earned win number five on the season, making 44 saves on 59 shots on goal. Bold suffered the loss in the Edmonton net allowing 14 of the 16 goals, facing 40 shots on goal.
“I believe we still have a long way to go, there’s a lot of things we have to clean up,” said Lovell. “I’ve said it a lot, but we’re still finding a way here and I do know that’s a character group in (the dressing room).”
These two teams will meet again on Saturday, March 21st in Toronto on Josh Sanderson Bachly Construction bobblehead night.
The Rock will be on the road again next weekend at Colorado. Toronto will be at Buffalo on Friday, March 13th to wrap up the 3-game road swing. The Rock’s next home game will be the back half of a home-and-home with Buffalo on Saturday, March 14th. For tickets and more information, please visit torontorock.com or call 416-596-3075.