BUFFALO, NY – After controlling the game for the bulk of the night, the Toronto Rock (1-1) were unable to close out their first road game of the season falling 12-10 to the Buffalo Bandits (1-1) on Friday night at the First Niagara Centre in Buffalo, NY.
The first quarter featured a disciplined Toronto Rock team capitalize on a pair of powerplay opportunities to go along with a pair of even strength markers to lead 4-0 through the opening 15 minutes. Toronto’s goaltender Nick Rose made several key saves while Toronto’s transition game was on full display with defender Damon Edwards scoring one of the four first quarter goals on a breakaway.
Rock captain Colin Doyle got the 400th career goal as a member of the Rock milestone out of the way in the first quarter.
The Bandits finally got on the board 7:17 into the second quarter as Ryan Benesch scored his first of two goals in the quarter. The Rock also scored a pair and continued to lead by four at the half, up 6-2.
A defensive battle for the first 11 minutes of the third quarter changed gears in a hurry as Buffalo scored four times in the final 3:58 of the frame to tie the score 6-6. Rose continued his heroics throughout the quarter, but the Bandits took advantage of their chances over the final minutes of the third.
Buffalo scored the first two goals of the fourth quarter to jump in front 8-6, making it a six-goal run. The Rock would tie it up, but in total, the Bandits scored 10 times in the final 18:58 of the game en route to the 12-10 win.
“Nick Rose gave us a chance to win this game with his goaltending through the first half of the game,” said Rock Head Coach John Lovell. “Giving up 6 goals in 5 minutes turned the momentum of the game in their favour.”
Rose stopped 43 of 54 shots he faced on the night as Buffalo’s 12th goal was scored into an empty net. At the other end of the floor, Buffalo netminder Anthony Cosmo stopped 52 of 62 Toronto shots fired his way.
Doyle finished the night with 3 goals and 2 assists and Josh Sanderson also had a 5-point game with 5 assists. Stephan Leblanc also fired home a hat-trick and added an assist. Other goal scorers were Edwards, Rob Hellyer and Kasey Beirnes all with singles. Garrett Billings had 4 assists.
The Rock travel to Rochester next weekend to face the back-to-back defending NLL Champion’s Cup Winners on Saturday night.
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