Oakville, ON – The Toronto Rock (4-1) take on the Minnesota Swarm (3-2) in a pair of key East Division matchups this weekend. Friday night, the Swarm will be the hosts (8:30pm ET), while the Rock will take their shot at hometown hospitality on Saturday night at Air Canada Centre at 7pm.
“We’re focusing on Friday night in Minnesota,” said Rock Head Coach John Lovell. “The first game, we can’t look beyond that. It’s a key game, and another game on the road for us.”
The Swarm pulled off a big win in overtime last week, defeating the defending champion Rochester Knighthawks. With 3 wins in 5 games this season, Minnesota is just a victory shy of equaling their win total of 4 accumulated over the entire 2014 season. Their early season success is something Lovell has taken note of.
“Minnesota is coming off a very good game in Rochester. We have a lot of respect for what they did there, and we’re coming off an off week. We’re ready and prepared,” said Lovell.
While the Rock enjoyed a great first month of the season, sporting a 4-1 record and sitting in first place in the NLL standings, Rock defender Glen Bryan knows the importance of this back-to-back in the big picture of an 18-game NLL season.
“We’re not going to be complacent with our record right now,” explained Bryan. “We want to go out there this weekend and focus on the first game, you need one to get two. We’ll focus on Friday night and take the results into Saturday and go from there. We’ve been preparing for the Swarm for the last two weeks and I think we’ll be ready to go.”
The Rock and Swarm have met just 14 times in the regular season with Minnesota moving from the West to the East for the 2014 season. Toronto holds the all-time edge with 8 wins. At Minnesota, the two teams have split 6 meetings winning 3 each. At home in Toronto, the Rock hold a 5-3 record.
On both sides of the ball, some of the top performers in the league to this point in the season will be featured in the 2-game set. Offensively, veteran forward Callum Crawford leads the Swarm with 30 points (11G, 19A) through five games. Josh Sanderson continues to lead the Rock point parade with 34 points (5G, 29A) while Rob Hellyer isn’t far behind his teammate Sanderson with 31 points (13G, 18A), also in 5 games.
The last line of defence has been key to the early season success of both clubs. Minnesota goaltender Zach Higgins has the lowest goals-against average (9.30 GAA) and the best save percentage (.804 SP) in the NLL. At the other end of the rink, Toronto’s Brandon Miller sits third in both goals-against average (10.25 GAA) and save percentage (.782 SP) among all goalies.
Fans can watch this weekend’s games live at TSN.ca/live/nll. For tickets and more information, please visit torontorock.com or call 416-596-3075.