ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Toronto Rock’s season came to an end last night after John Grant scored three straight goals in the fourth quarter to lead the Rochester Knighthawks to a dramatic come-from-behind victory in the East Division Semi-Final Saturday at the Blue Cross Arena.
Rochester outscored Toronto 10-1 in the final frame.
Grant finished with five goals and an assist, while Pat O’Toole made 44 saves for the victory.
They will face the winner of the Buffalo-Minnesota semi-final to be played Sunday at 2 p.m. in the East Division final.
It’s the first Toronto loss to Rochester in the teams’ post-season history. The Rock entered the game 4-0 all-time in playoff play against Rochester, and had won the only playoff meeting between the two teams in Rochester with an 8-6 victory in the 2003 championship game.
Rochester went on a six-goal run at the end of the third and early in the fourth quarter to pull of the win.
Matt Shearer led the Rock with three goals, while Colin Doyle had a goal and three helpers. Bob Watson made 39 saves and was spectacular for much of the third quarter.
In the first frame in front of 7,295 fans, the Rock got into early penalty trouble as John Grant opened the scoring with Patrick Merrill and Shearer in the box in the opening minute. Chris Schiller continued the charge for the Knighthawks scoring a short-handed goal on a breakaway after accepting a beautiful feed from O’Toole. The Rock failed to score on that man-advantage.
O’Toole was very solid in the opening minutes, and later in the quarter Watson responded with some short-handed heroics of his own.
After Chris Driscoll tied the game at 2-2 with a beautiful transition goal near the end of the first, Toronto and Rochester traded power play goals in the opening three minutes of the second.
Knighthawks’ forward Scott Evans scored on an outside bomb to make it 4-3 for Rochester, before Shawn Williams made it a two-goal cushion with a beautiful behind-the-back strike, despite tight marking from Rock defender Patrick Merrill.
Scott Evans finished with two goals and three assists while Williams had three goals and two assists.
Shearer brought the Rock back within one, dropping a sidearm shot low to O’Toole’s glove side. He scored again shooting into a vacant net after O’Toole tripped in his own crease.
Toronto won eight of the first 12 faceoffs, a key component to dominating the possession game.
In the third quarter, Aaron Wilson scooped up a loose ball in front of the net and fed Shearer on the crease for a natural hattrick after eight minutes of scoreless lacrosse.
Josh Sanderson scored his first goal on his ninth shot of game late in the third on the powerplay for a 7-5 Rock lead.
Bob Watson held the Knighthawks scoreless for over 18 minutes before their five-goal run late in the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter.
But then Grant got hot.
Grant led the charge on a six-goal Rochester run late scoring three of his own early in the fourth quarter to give Rochester an 11-7 lead.
Josh Sanderson pulled the Rock back within three goals after a beautiful over-the-shoulder feed from Doyle on a 5-on-3. Josh Sanderson then hit the crossbar then a post just seconds after.
Then Steve Toll restored the four goal Rochester lead on a breakaway shorthanded, followed two minutes later by Ken Millin’s goal to give Rocehster a 13-8 lead.
Toll and Bill Greer added empty netters and Pat Dutton added one with 23 seconds left.
National Lacrosse League
East Division Semi-Final
KNIGHTHAWKS 16, ROCK 8
1. Rochester Grant (Accursi) 0:57 pp
2. Rochester Schiller (O’Toole) 3:32 sh
3. Toronto Doyle (J. Sanderson) 9:12 pp
4. Toronto Driscoll (Veltman) 12:04
Penalties – Toronto, bench minor (too many men, served by Shearer) 0:15; Toronto Merrill (checking from behind) 0:39; Rochester Ditzell (holding) 3:13; Rochester Schiller (holding) 5:54; Rochester bench minor (too many men, served by Chapman) 7:51; Toronto Driscoll (slashing) 9:50; Rochester Ditzell (holding) 14:11.
5. Toronto Veltman (J. Sanderson, Doyle) 0:35 pp
6. Rochester Grant 2 (Scott Evans, Williams) 2:03 pp
7. Rochester Scott Evans (Ditzell) 7:53
8. Rochester Williams (Scott Evan, Ditzell) 9:45
9. Toronto Shearer (MacDonald) 11:41
10. Toronto Shearer 2 (Doyle) 13:51
Penalties – Toronto Rubel (checking from behind) 1:48; Toronto Suddons (holding, roughing) 4:39; Rochester Accursi (roughing) 4:39.
11. Toronto Shearer 3 (Wilson, Manning) 8:20
12. Toronto J. Sanderson (
13. Rochester Scott Evans 2 (Williams, Shawn Evans) 13:27
Penalties – Toronto Driscoll (slashing) 1:46; Rochester Ditzell (slashing) 5:39; Rochester Greer (interference) 10:41; Toronto, bench minor (too many men, served by Campbell) 14:55.
14. Rochester Williams 2 (Scott Evans, Accursi) 0:56 pp
15. Rochester Williams 3 (Dutton) 1:48
16. Rochester Grant 3 (Greer, Thorpe) 3:07
17. Rochester Grant 4 (Toll) 3:57
18. Rochester Grant 5 (Schiller, O’Toole) 5:46
19. Toronto J. Sanderson (Doyle) 7:07 pp
20. Rochester Toll (O’Toole) 8:10 sh
21. Rochester Millin (Grant) 10:06
22. Rochester Toll 2 (O’Toole) 11:47 en
23. Rochester Greer 14:16 en
24. Rochester Dutton (Hoar) 14:37
Penalties – Toronto Campbell (crosschecking) 4:35; Rochester Ditzell (high sticking) 5:14; Rochester Chapman (too many men, served by Chapman) 6:54.
1 2 3 4 T
Toronto 2 3 2 1 8
Rochester 2 3 1 10 16
Shots on Goal By
1 2 3 4 T
Toronto 14 10 9 20 48
Rochester 11 14 9 14 53
Goalies – Toronto: Watson (L, 39 saves on 54 shots); Rochester: O’Toole (W, 40 saves on 48 shots)
Powerplays -Toronto: 4/8; Rochester 2/8.
Referees – Duane Zeelenberg, Rick Lum, Mark Gardonio.