The Toronto Rock (2-0) won their home opener tonight at the Air Canada Centre in an overtime nail-biter 8-7 over the Boston Blazers (0-2).
National Lacrosse League Rookie of the Week, Garrett Billings scored the game winning. Rock goalie Bob Watson had 36 saves, and Colin Doyle and Stephan Leblanc each recorded six points. Doyle earned game MVP honours.
Gary Bining led Boston with four points (1 goal, 3 assists) while Anthony Cosmo stopped 47 of the Rock’s 55 shots.
Boston opened game scoring with a Daryl Veltman goal that was quickly countered by Blaine Manning for the Rock, but his goal was called back due to crease violation. Play halted for approximately five minutes as four separate fights broke out on the turf. Each team had four players ejected from the game for game misconducts. Once play resumed the Blazers sunk another goal past Toronto netminder Bob Watson. Sophomore forward with the Rock, Josh Wasson put Toronto onto the board with 1:05 left in the first quarter.
The second started with Boston leading 2-1. Brett Queener put the Blazers up by two, but Toronto captain Colin Doyle and Kasey Beirnes evened out the game at 3-3. Stephan Leblanc for the Rock struck next with a goal past Blazers goalie Anthony Cosmo to give Toronto their first lead of the game to end the first half 4-3.
Doyle kicked off the third quarter with his second goal of the game, followed by teammate Mike Hominuck. Gary Bining woke up the Blazers offence, posting their fourth goal with 7:00 left on the clock. Defence controlled the rest of the third; the teams headed into the last quarter of play with the Rock up 6-4.
Matt Lyons and Ryan Hotaling struck for the Blazers, tying the game at six but Hominuck would regain the Rock lead, draining his second of the night. Mitch Belisle scored his second of the game for Boston to put the two teams even with 3:00 left in the game. The clock would drain out sending Toronto and Boston into sudden death overtime.
Three minutes passed in overtime until Boston’s Kyle Ross was awarded a five minute penalty for high sticking Toronto’s Doyle. The Rock played against a tough Boston defence until rookie Garrett Billings drained the sudden death winner past Cosmo, ending the game 8-7.
The Toronto Rock play at the Air Canada Centre again next weekend to start a home-and-home series with the Rochester Knighthawks (1-0). Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 23.