Toronto Dominates Buffalo In 18-7 Win In Rock City!
Hamilton, ON – The Toronto Rock (12-4) soundly defeated the Buffalo Bandits (11-4) by a score of 18-7 on Saturday night at FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, ON. The win moves the Rock into first place in the NLL’s East Conference and evens the season series with the Bandits at one game apiece with the rubber match set to take place on April 22 in Buffalo.
The win came in front of 13,127 fans in Rock City. That number represents the biggest crowd hosted in Hamilton since the team relocated prior to the 2021-22 season. It’s also the biggest Rock crowd in over 10 years, dating back to the Rock’s time at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
This game was over early. The Rock stormed out of the gate and built a 3-0 lead just over two and a half minutes into the first quarter. Two of those three goals came shorthanded with Latrell Harris and Challen Rogers denting the twine. The goals just kept coming, and the Rock had put up seven goals before the Bandits had a single tally. The first quarter ended with the Rock up 7-1.
“There was a lot of talk going into this game about what it means in the standings, for playoffs, future implications, against one of our biggest rivals, we were just really hungry going into this game,” said Rock defender Josh Jubenville.
The Bandits did more than stick around in the second quarter that was even on the scoreboard. When Buffalo scored, Toronto answered and the Rock continued to hold a six-goal lead, up 11-5 at the half.
To open the second half, Buffalo scored on an early power play but all that did was cue up a Toronto four-goal run to stretch the lead to 15-6 in favour of the home side. The two teams traded goals, which included a last second strike by Dan Craig that left the Rock with a 16-7 lead through three quarters.
The only two goals in the final frame both came from the stick of Tom Schreiber, his third and fourth finishes of the night. However, the action was far from over.
The final minute of play resulted in nine major penalties and three game misconducts being assessed. One of the majors was for slashing, the other eight were scribbled onto the scoresheet as a result of four separate fights.
The most notable of the scraps featured Rock defender Billy Hostrawser who is known for getting involved in the rough stuff, so much so that the team handed out “Bobblefists” in his honour this evening. Hostrawser got into a late-game tussle with Buffalo’s Bryce Sweeting that had Rock City vibrating one more time to wrap up the night. The Rock’s tough guy finished the night with one assist, seven loose balls, two caused turnovers, 25 penalty minutes and 5,000 happy fans that received one of his collectible bobblefists.
Corey Small led the Rock point parade with five goals and five assists for 10 points. Schreiber added five assists to his four goals for nine points and surpassed the 100-point plateau for the first time in his career.
Lost in all the goals and fisticuffs was the stellar performance by Nick Rose who made 39 saves and allowed just 7 goals in just over 55 minutes of work. He definitely won the goaltending duel between two of the game’s greats. At the other end, Buffalo’s Matt Vinc allowed 12 goals on the 31 shots he faced in 32:25 of work. The Bandits employed a platoon system in this game, switching between Vinc and backup Devlin Shanahan on a couple of occasions.
The Rock were 2-for6 on the power play while the Bandits were 3-for-7 with the man advantage.
Tickets are on sale now for the Rock’s final regular season home game at FirstOntario Centre on Saturday, April 15 against the Philadelphia Wings at 7pm ET. It’s Fan Appreciation Night!
For more information on tickets, please visit torontorock.com, call the Rock Ticket Office at 416-596-3075 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.