Toronto – With the Rock returning home after a convincing win over the Edmonton Rush the previous week, Toronto played host to the New York Titans. Toronto, going for their third win of the season, was looking to build on the momentum from their win over the Rush and go over the .500 mark. Having never beat the Titans the Rock, showcasing their quick strike offense and punishing defense, would stage an incredible comeback from a five goal deficit at halftime to beat out New York 14-10.
The Titans would be the offensive aggressors early in the game striking first in the opening period scoring three quick goals despite a strong defensive presence by Toronto early in the period. Midway through the quarter Toronto would break onto the scoreboard on a goal by Chris Driscoll, his third of the season, cutting the lead to two. The period would prove to be a very physical affair with defense being showcased by both teams until with less than one minute left in the quarter when New York would increase their lead again to three goals.
The second quarter showed the Rock energized attack to open up the quarter. Controlling the pace of the second early, Toronto would rattle off ten shots on Titans’ goaltender Matt Vinc in the first five minutes with Josh Sanderson scoring his eleventh goal on an excellent effort in front of the net. The Titans would quickly reverse the momentum as they would come back to score three straight midway through the period to add to their lead. Toronto would score one late in the quarter on a bullet in traffic by Kasey Beirnes to end the scoring drought. The second stanza would close out with the Titans leading 8-3 in spite of the Rock outshooting the visitors 25-21.
Coming out with new energy from the halftime break the Rock would show the Titans why they are always in a game no matter what the score. The big guns would awaken as Ryan Benesch would put through his fifth goal of the season off a rebound in front followed shortly after by a beautiful no look over the shoulder shot by Blaine Manning to cut the lead to 8-5. The scoring run would be capped off by two more first from Jamie Taylor and then Peter Lough eight seconds later to bring the hometown crowd on its feet with the Rock just down by one goal before the ten minute mark in the quarter. The Rock’s defense would hold the Titans to just nine shots on goal for the period anchored by Bob Watson, the NLL’s recent Defensive Player of the Week. Toronto was able to kill three power plays against the NLL’s leading Power Play Goal scoring team. The Rock would end the period by tying the game at eight a piece just before the quarter ended on an Aaron Wilson rocket past Vinc while leaving New York scoreless in the quarter.
Riding the momentum of the third and the energy of the crowd, the Rock took their first lead of the game on a seat clearing goal by Benesch just 37 seconds into the fourth quarter. Benesch would complete his hat trick by making it 10-8. New York would finally end the seven goal run to cut the Toronto lead to one goal and would eventually tie the game at the nine minute mark scoring on a power play. Benesch would put his fourth goal of the game, which would prove to be the game winner, through the Titans’ pipes to take the go ahead on a spectacular behind the back feed from Jon Harasym. The Rock would follow up with three more transition goals and beat the Titans 14-10.
The Rock were led in scoring by Blaine Manning who tallied 7 points on 2 goals and 5 assists followed by both Benesch and Jamie Taylor with 4 points apiece – Benesch on 4 goals and Taylor on 1 goal and 3 assists. Also scoring a hat trick on the night was Aaron Wilson.
The Rock defense was anchored by the spectacular play of goalie Bob Watson who earned the win by recording 33 saves for the game stopping 20 in the second half and all 8 shot thrown at him in the third to help key the comeback.
The Titans were led on the scoreboard by Ryan Boyle who had 7 points on 2 goals and 5 assists.
The next Rock game will be on the road against defending NLL champion Rochester Knighthawks. The opening faceoff is scheduled to take place 7:30 p.m. at the Blue Cross Arena.