Toronto – Capturing the biggest prize in the other team’s building is never easy to do, however the Rock’s only success ever in Rochester was the Champion’s Cup Final in 2003.
The 2003 victory in the Champion’s Cup final was a low scoring affair with Toronto coming out on top 8-6. Bob Watson was named the MVP of the finale making 40 saves.
Outside of the 2003 post-season win, the Rock have faced the Knighthawks on the road in the playoffs in 2006 and 2007 with the Rochester winning each time.
15 regular season trips to Rochester and the Toronto Rock have been on the losing end of each game, however their most devastating loss in Rochester may have come in the 2006 playoffs.
The Rock were coming off their 5th championship in 7 seasons and just finished an 8-8 season earning them a first round date on the road against their arch enemy.
After three quarters of play, the Rock held a 7-6 lead over the Knighthawks. From there, things unraveled. The visiting club from Toronto were outscored 10-1 in the fourth quarter and were eliminated from the playoffs in a 16-8 loss. It also ended up being the last game for current Rock GM and Assistant Coach Terry Sanderson behind the bench in his first tour of duty with the Rock.
Sanderson talked about the fateful playoff demise and traces the collapse back to one specific series of events that in his mind swung the momentum of the game in the Knighthawks favour.
“Rochester came down on offence and our D got a real good stop,” explained Sanderson. “Then we turned the ball over, our D had another stop, but we turned the ball over again and they scored. From that point on, anything that could go wrong, did go wrong.”
“I think our biggest obstacle in that building is that we’re playing a real good lacrosse team every time this team goes in there,” said Sanderson.
The only players that were around for the 2003 playoff triumph that will play this weekend are Colin Doyle, Blaine Manning, Patrick Merrill, Sandy Chapman and Watson.
“We’ve got so many new faces here over the past two seasons that I don’t think the demons of the past come into play with this group,” said Sanderson.
The Rock will continue the search for their first regular season win at Rochester on Saturday night. Faceoff is set for 7:38pm. The game can be seen live on TSN2.