Buffalo Wins Second Half Of Home And Home
Buffalo, NY – The Toronto Rock (5-11) were officially eliminated from the playoffs on Saturday night with a 14-8 loss to the Buffalo Bandits (11-5) at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY. This marks just the third time in franchise history the Rock have failed to qualify for the post-season.
“It was a very difficult season for many reasons not withstanding our terrible start,” said Rock head coach John Lovell. “In a lot of ways I’ve really liked the character and heart of this team over the last eight or nine games. Some of the things we’ve done haven’t always given us a chance to be successful, but lots of times we played with character and courage.”
The Rock surrendered the opening goal but Stephan Leblanc quickly responded with a power play marker to tie the score at 1-1. Dan Lintner for an even strength goal a couple of minutes later to give the Rock a 2-1 lead. After being held to just a goal and an assist last night, Buffalo’s Dhane Smith scored a pair of goals to give the Bandits a 3-2 lead through one quarter.
Buffalo and Toronto traded goals to begin the second quarter, but the Bandits went on a five-goal run to end the half leading 9-3. Three of those five goals came on the man advantage with the Rock spending a significant portion of the quarter in the penalty box. Jeff Gilbert and Brodie Merrill each received five-minute majors just 49 seconds apart, digging the Rock a deep hole.
The Bandits made it seven straight goals with another Dhane Smith tally to open the second half scoring. Stephan Leblanc’s goal broke up the Buffalo stampede and snapped a scoreless drought of 21:37 for the Rock. Buffalo stretched their lead to 12-4 before the Rock added a late goal from Turner Evans to end the quarter trailing 12-5.
The Rock made it three in a row by scoring the first three goals of the fourth quarter to close to within four goals. The rally was too little; too late as the Rock couldn’t overcome the hole they dug for themselves in the second quarter.
Josh Sanderson left the game in the second quarter and did not return. Brodie Merrill’s second major penalty of the game in the fourth quarter earned him a game misconduct.
Rock goaltender Brandon Miller started the game but gave way to Nick Rose after just over 23 minutes of work. Miller’s fifteenth save put gave him 5,000 career saves, making him just the seventh goaltender in league history to reach the milestone.
The Rock will be on the road next weekend against the Colorado Mammoth on Saturday night at Denver’s Pepsi Center. The game will be broadcast live on TSN4 at 9:00 p.m. ET.
2017 Toronto Rock season tickets are now on sale. For more information about Toronto Rock tickets, please contact our account executives at 416-596-3075 or visit www.torontorock.com.