ROCK HOST DEFENDING CHAMPS CALGARY SUNDAY AFTERNOON
Toronto Finding Ways To Win Despite Injuries To Star Forwards
Toronto, ON – The Toronto Rock (7-3) will host the defending NLL champion, Calgary Roughnecks (4-5) on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET at Scotiabank Arena. Fans can watch the game on Bleacher Report Live as well as Rogers Digital TV (ch. 368) and Ignite TV (ch. 430).
“It’s been a while since we’ve played at home, so we’re looking forward to that,” said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer. “Calgary’s always a great matchup and we’re going to have our hands full. They’re a good team, they were in the championship last year for a reason. I’m sure they’ll be hungry, it’s an important game for them as well as us.”
Don’t let their record fool you, the Roughnecks are still one of the top teams in the league. Calgary has played six of their nine games this year without the league’s reigning MVP Dane Dobbie. They are 2-1 in the three games he’s played, and he has been doing MVP-like things in those three games, scoring 16 goals including seven in his team’s 13-12 loss to San Diego last weekend. In Dobbie’s absence, Curtis Dickson has carried the load offensively and leads the team with 38 points in nine games.
Calgary also boasts the best young goaltender in the league in Christian Del Bianco. While his club’s win-loss record may not be where they would like to see it, his personal numbers are slightly better than they were a year ago when he, along with Dobbie, led the Riggers to the NLL Cup. So, make no mistake this team is still a very dangerous opponent for the Rock.
“They’re a good team. They’ve got a great, young goalie, who is very active and agile in the net and can be challenging at times when he gets hot,” said Rock forward Dan Craig. “They’ve got two premier scorers on the front end and those two guys have been putting up a lot of points. I believe we have one of, if not the best, defence in the league to go at that.”
On the other side of the ball, the Rock are coming off of what could be a season defining 9-8 comeback win in Saskatchewan over the Rush last week. With all the injuries and adversity this team has faced, they continue to show the pride and fight that is characteristic of teams that achieve great things. The first half of the season certainly gives Rock City a reason to get excited, but there’s still a lot of track left with eight games to go on the regular season schedule.
The Rock have remained at the top of the North Division standings without Adam Jones for all but one game and Tom Schreiber for all but four. Dan Dawson was the latest to join the Rock’s IR list last week, that boasts some of the league’s elite players. While the team is hopeful a return for any of their superstars is imminent, there’s still no clear timeline on when we’ll see any of the three Rock stars.
“There’s a chance you’ll see at least one of them this weekend,” Rock Owner, President and GM Jamie Dawick said during an interview on Toronto Rock Total Access earlier in the week. “The focus is to get them back as soon as possible and as soon as they’re healthy and ready to go.”
Rock veteran forward Rob Hellyer continues to light the lamp at a career-best pace with 30 goals in ten games and sits second in the NLL goal scoring race. Nick Rose is also enjoying a career year with the league’s second-best goals against average (9.18) and save percentage (.821). These two players, if they continue their current level of play the rest of the way, will be making some serious noise for individual league awards at the end of the season.
All-time, the Rock are 22-14 against the Roughnecks and are 12-6 in the 18 games played in Toronto.
Sunday is ‘Kidz Day’ in Rock City. Tickets are still available for tomorrow afternoon’s game and kids get a free ticket with the purchase of a regular ticket through Ticketmaster.
For more information on Toronto Rock tickets, please contact a Toronto Rock account executive at 416-596-3075 or visit torontorock.com.