Toronto – Saturday night, the Toronto Rock scratched and clawed their way back from a 6-2 halftime deficit to defeat the Buffalo Bandits 7-6 at Air Canada Centre. The Rock will now face the Rochester Knighthawks one week from tonight in the East Division Final.
Buffalo’s defence stifled the Rock offence in the first quarter. Their active sticks and aggressive defence limited Toronto’s ability to generate many quality scoring chances and Buffalo led 4-0 after one quarter.
The Rock offence went from being limited in the number of scoring chances they produced to carrying a heavy edge in the offensive play in the second quarter outshooting the Bandits 18-8. Unfortunately, Toronto was unable to make up any ground as the two teams traded goals back and forth and Buffalo led 6-2 at the half.
After Buffalo’s Anthony Cosmo held the Rock off the board early, Nick Rose returned the favour stopping all 11 Buffalo shots that came his way in the third quarter. The Rock offence generated a pair of goals to trim the Bandits lead to 6-4 through three quarters.
The Rock continued chipping away at the Bandit lead and rode the incredible play of goaltender Nick Rose during the final 15 minutes of play and tied things up 6-6 with 5:17 to go.
With 1:35 to go, Brenden Thenhaus brought the Rock faithful to their feet as the Rock had battled all the way back and taken a 7-6 lead. With just a second left on the clock Buffalo scored, but after review it was ruled the Bandits had a player in the crease and the Rock advanced to the East Division Final for the third consecutive season.
Nick Rose held the Bandits off the board entirely for the final 34:03 and made 36 saves to earn his first career playoff win.
Kasey Beirnes fueled the comeback from the offensive side of things scoring three straight second half goals, including the tying goal.
For tickets to Saturday’s East Division Final playoff game against the Rochester Knighthawks at Air Canada Centre, please visit www.torontorock.com or call 416-596-3075 and speak with a Toronto Rock ticket representative. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Tuesday at 10am.