Toronto Drops Second Straight As East Division Race Tightens
Uncasville, CT – The Toronto Rock (8-7) staged a late rally but ran out of time in a 15-14 loss to the New England Black Wolves (7-7) on Sunday afternoon at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. Toronto trailed 13-8 in the fourth quarter and had a shot to tie the game with seconds remaining, but were unable to come all the way back in a game in which they never regained the lead after an early 2-1 first quarter edge.
“We weren’t good enough today,” said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer. “We certainly showed a lot of character, there was no quit in our team today. “We just made a few too many mistakes and shot ourselves in the foot too many times.”
After failing to find the net on Friday night, Stephan Leblanc came out firing on Sunday afternoon, scoring twice in the first quarter. New England’s Shawn Evans matched Leblanc’s two goals and the two teams ended the opening frame tied 2-2.
New England took the lead 18 seconds into the second quarter and just over six minutes later Evans completed the first half hat-trick, with a shorthanded goal making the score 4-2 Black Wolves. Leblanc scored his third goal of the half as well, this one on the power play, to get the Rock back within a goal. The Rock gave up their second shorthanded goal of the quarter when Jay Thorimbert scored on a breakaway. Tom Schreiber scored a power play goal moments later to once again make it a one-goal game. Thorimbert’s second of the game, a carbon copy of his first goal, gave New England a 6-4 lead at halftime.
After falling behind 7-4, the Rock went on a three-goal run to tie the game sparked by the American connection. Tom Schreiber scored twice and Kieran McArdle also tallied to knot the game 7-7. The Black Wolves went on a 4-1 run to close out the quarter and take an 11-8. Brandon Miller replaced Nick Rose in the Rock goal late in the quarter.
The fourth quarter was a wild one; with the Rock down 13-8 it was time to cue the comeback. Brett Hickey, Schreiber and McArdle scored in succession to draw the Rock back to within a pair, down 13-11. Daryl Veltman scored for New England to give the home side a three-goal lead with 2:51 to play.
From there, the Rock would continuously pull Miller to go 6-on-5. Reid Reinholdt, who has had a knack of scoring timely goals recently, brought the Rock back to within a pair, down 14-12. After a turnover, New England sunk an empty netter to again lead by three goals. Back to back tallies from Reinholdt 36 seconds apart, again with the extra attacker, made it a one-goal game with 39 seconds to play. Toronto got possession off the ensuing faceoff and called timeout. A first shot attempt failed, but the Rock regained possession and a fresh shot clock for one more try but New England’s Evan Kirk made his 56th save of the game to seal the win for the Black Wolves.
Of note, Schreiber finished the game with four goals and three assists. His 52 assists on the season breaks the Rock rookie record of 50 previously held by Garrett Billings (2010) and Blaine Manning (2002). Schreiber’s 28 goals are now just eight shy of Leblanc’s rookie mark of 36 in 2010 and his 80 points are three behind the team’s rookie mark of 83 set by Billings.
Along with Schreiber’s four goals, Reinholdt, McArdle and Leblanc all had hat-tricks. Hickey had the other Rock goal.
The Rock will then enjoy a much needed bye week, before returning home for their final regular season home game on Friday, April 14 against the Buffalo Bandits. It’s Fan Appreciation Night and Toronto Sun Autograph Night. Monday at 10am, the Rock’s “Buy Week” Sale begins, with Buy 1, Get 1 Free tickets available for Fan Appreciation Night. For tickets, please visit torontorock.com or call 416-596-3075.