Toronto – The Toronto Rock are in preparation for the most important game of the season. On Saturday May 14, the Rock will take on the Arizona Sting in the Champion’s Cup Final at the Air Canada Centre at 3:30pm. The game will mark the first time the Championship has been held in Toronto since 2001, when the Rock succumbed to the Philadelphia Wings in one of the most intense games in franchise history.
After 2001, the Rock made two consecutive trips to the big game and came away with the Championship glory over Albany in 2002 and Rochester in 2003. Following last year’s disappointing loss in the semi-finals to Buffalo, the Rock returned with a new team, new coaches and a new attitude. 2005 marked the year of a “Rock Solid Revolution” that saw the new look Toronto squad finish the regular season with a franchise best 12-4 record. The Rock earned a bye through the first round of playoffs, advancing to the Eastern Division finals where they took down a feisty Rochester squad in a tight 12-10 victory. With a two week break between the semi-final and Saturday’s game, the Rock have focused on training and team building both on and off the floor.
“Two weeks is a long time for a competitive bunch of guys like we’ve got but we’ve used that time to mend some broken bodies and fine tuning our game. Arizona is a young tough team with a great deal to prove in this game, they’re going to come out swinging and we’ll be ready!” Terry Sanderson, Toronto Rock Head Coach and GM.
The Rock have come away from the 2005 season with a different look. A team that was once known strictly for its solid defensive play has become an offensive nightmare for its opponents. The Rock’s “Century Club”; Colin Doyle, Josh Sanderson and Blaine Manning led the League’s most potent offense this season, scoring a franchise high 227 goals during the regular season. Despite that obvious offensive strength, the Rock has immense depth which they showcased in the semi-final game against the Knighthawks. Rock high scorers that night included Sandy Chapman, Brian Beisel, Patrick Merrill and Nick Trudeau who combined for 10 of the Rock’s 30 points. Toronto also has a couple of secret weapons in players such as Jim Veltman, the League’s loose ball leader 13 of the last 14 seasons, and Chris Driscoll who can effectively play both ends of the floor while keeping offensive threats in check. Not to mention, Bob Watson who has been solid between the pipes this year, finishing the season 4th overall in GAA (11.78) and 5th overall in save percentage (0.757%).
At the other end of the floor, Arizona has offensive powerhouses Dan Dawson and Craig Conn leading the team’s scoring, alongside veteran players Jonas Derks, Jason Clark and Pat Maddalena. The Sting’s offense combined for 209 goals on the season, 5th overall in the League. They are supported by the transitional strength of defensive players like Darryl Gibson, Scott Self, Bruce Codd and Chris Seller. Add in faceoff specialist Peter Lough and Arizona poses a viable threat to the Toronto squad.
Tickets for the game are sold out, with only standing room left for Saturday’s 3:30pm game at the Air Canada Centre. Fans who can’t make it down can catch all the action live on NBC or the Score Television Network. The Toronto Sun pre-game tailgate party begins at 1:00pm in the West Plaza, on the York Street side of the building. Fans can come on down and win prizes from Rock sponsors including Woodbine Entertainment, UnderArmour, the Toronto Sun, Playstation, Molson and many more.