The Rock, having lost their last two games in heartbreaking fashion the previous week, was down to their last chance to make the play offs tonight. With New York eliminated from play off contention, they were looking to play spoiler. The game would be a back and forth game, physical game but a lucky bounce would result in a narrow loss for the Rock as the Titans would win 12-11.
However, a Chicago win over Philadelphia tonight pushed the Rock into fourth place and clinching the final play off spot.
The game began with high intensity by the Rock as they came out aggressively with Ryan Benesch leading the charge scoring a hat trick in the first quarter. The Rock capitalized on New York penalties scoring on all three power play chances. Conversely, Toronto was able to kill their own shorthanded situations holding the Titans scoreless on all but one occasion. Both teams exchanged goals and leads much through the first two periods where there were a total of six lead changes. The Rock and Titans were scraping it out on every possession where the defense was tough and the hits were harder. The score at the half was 7-7.
In the third quarter, the Rock seemed to have control of the game. Veteran goaltender Bob Watson was excellent between the pipes stopping some point blank shots that might have left bruises. Toronto played great defense making sure to block out the Titans coming into the Rock zone limiting New York to one goal in the quarter. Combined with the strong third period defense and great passing had Toronto out shooting the Titans 13 to 8 resulting in three goals putting Toronto up 10-8 and the momentum clearly in the Rock’s favour.
The fourth quarter started much like the third. Toronto came out aggressively and were putting pressure on the Titans on both ends. The Rock looked to have the win in sight but New York would come storming back. After Aaron Wilson’s goal at the 7:03 mark of the period, the Titans would score the two more goals to tie the game at 11 a piece with just over five minutes left in the game. Every shot was contested and every shooter was hit hard. The Titans would score the go ahead goal at the 12:05 mark of the game courtesy of Pat Maddalena who caught a rebound which had taken a fortuitous bounce in his direction where he was alone for a shot. The Rock continued in the fourth with strong defense and forcing a shot clock violation taking back the ball with 17.1 seconds in the game. Toronto would get a good look at the net but the win would be dashed by a spectacular save by Titans goalie Matt Vinc who would eventually earn the win, 12-11.
Despite a valiant effort, the Rock played a great four quarters of lacrosse. The scoring for Toronto was evenly distributed through the team with five players registering five points. Aaron Wilson had four goals and one assist with Josh Sanderson having the opposite, one goal and four assists. Ryan Benesch would follow with three goals and two assists and Blaine Manning with two goals and three assists.
The Titans were by Matt Zash who had six points on four goals and two assists followed by Brendan Mundorf with three goals and one helper.
The Rock, finishing 6-10 in regular season head to Rochester on Friday April 20th at 8:05 p.m. EST to face the Knighthawks in the Eastern Divisional Semi-finals.