Toronto, ON – The NLL Eastern Semi-Final was supposed to be an old fashioned shoot-out. Particularly when the top five scorers during the 2005 regular season were on the floor. So the fans were ready for some offensive fireworks. What they didn’t expect was who would set them off!
The Toronto Rock defeated the Rochester Knighthawks 12-10, featuring a balanced attack and a hot goalie. Nine different players scored goals for the Rock and veteran tender Bob Watson shut the door with some spectacular breakaway saves to preserve the victory. Toronto will now host the surprising Arizona Sting in the Champion’s Cup Final on May 14th at 3:30pm.
The Rock and the Knighthawks have faced each other many times in the playoffs, producing some of the most entertaining and memorable games in pro lacrosse history. This one was close all the way, with each team exchanging goals. With NLL scoring leader Colin Doyle (one goal) and runner-up Blaine Manning (one), Josh Sanderson (two) and Aaron Wilson (zero) held to a combined four goals, unheralded players stepped up to fill the gap. Brian Beisel and Nick Trudeau scored two goals each and defenders Phil Sanderson and John Rosa scored huge transition goals.
Toronto trailed 7-6 at halftime, but mounted a four goal run in the third quarter sparked by Beisel. His short-handed goal, after Chris Driscoll picked up a loose ball, started a four-goal third-quarter run that put the Rock up 10-8. Beisel also capped the spurt with a breakaway goal and held Hawks star John Grant Jr. scoreless in the second half after a three-goal first half.
Rochester tried to mount a comeback late in the game, but Bob Watson played fantastic down the stretch and the Rock held on for the victory. Josh Sanderson (2g, 2a), Nick Trudeau (2g) and Brian Beisel (2g) led the Rock offense. Bob Watson earned the win in goal with 36 saves.
Rochester was led by John Grant (3g, 2a), Scott Evans (3g) and Shawn Williams (2g). Steve Toll (1g, 3a) and Andrew Turner (1g) also scored for Rochester.
Tickets for the 2005 Champion’s Cup Final are now on sale. Tickets can be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.ca, by calling (416) 872-5000 or visiting the Air Canada Centre box office.