Toronto, ON – The Toronto Rock didn’t need any luck from the Irish as they took on the Arizona Sting Friday night at the Air Canada Centre. None of the 18,173 fans knew what to expect as these two teams met for the first time in franchise history.
The first quarter went back-and-forth for the better part of ten minutes before either side saw the scoreboard. Captain Jim Veltman and his defense found themselves in trouble as his nephew, Peter Veltman, and the attacking Sting helped Arizona to score first in the game. Not to be outdone, the Rock managed to put two past goaltender Mike Miron as they entered the second quarter down 4-2.
A completely different Rock team emerged in the next 15 minutes as Toronto burst into the game, looking to gain control. Brain Beisel uplifted the squad by tucking away his second goal of the night, in what looked like an effortless top- corner blast. The Air Canada Centre came to life as Josh Sanderson and Aaron Wilson sniped two balls into the mesh less than a minute apart. Toronto got rowdy and caught up to their stunned opponents, tying the score 6-6.
Toronto came out firing in the second half, doubling the Sting in shots on goal. The shots began to sting as Toronto put three away early in the first five minutes. Fore-checking proved important as the swarming offensive pressure was too much for Miron to handle. Unfortunate run-ins with the penalty box hampered the Rock’s unanswered streak, as Arizona plugged away and capitalized to even the score 9-9. Blaine Manning put an end to the Sting scoring and set the crowd a roaring with back-to-back bullets. Bob Watson continued his stone-cold save streak as he kept the Rock ahead 12-9 as they headed into the final quarter.
Veltman’s defensive interceptions kept the Sting from even approaching the Rock net in the fourth. Doyle and Manning proved once again why they are leaders and all- stars in the league as they each scored their third of the night. Aaron Wilson topped even the best of the Rock with his fourth goal of the game to give Toronto a commanding lead, never to look back. Toronto’s second goaltender of the night, Phil Wetherup, spoiled any chance the Sting had at closing in on the score with his stellar game-ending saves. Toronto walked away comfortably with 2 points in an exciting 18-10 win. Top point getters for the Rock were Blaine Manning (4G, 4A) Aaron Wilson (4G, 3A), and Colin Doyle (3G, 4A).
The Rock, along with a busload of fans, will travel to Buffalo next Saturday in an intense Eastern Division rivalry, as Toronto takes on the Buffalo Bandits. Tickets are still available for the bus trip, which includes round trip transportation, a game ticket, snacks on the bus and a chance to win great Rock prizes. Call 416-596-3075 for tickets or visit www.torontorock.com for more information on how you can join in on the fun!