Spring is finally here and the Rock were in Minnesota hoping to spring some new life into their last few games. Toronto faced the Swarm at the Xcel Energy Center looking for a win to keep their play off hopes alive. The Rock held the Minnesota Swarm to only six goals despite being out shot for the game to register a much needed victory, 13-6.
The Rock started off the game with lots of energy scoring the first goal of the game on a great Ryan Benesch effort and the second at the hands of Josh Sanderson. The Swarm came back to score on a shot by Dean Hill cutting the lead to one that would be the Swarm’s only goal for the quarter. The Rock would finish the first quarter ahead, 2-1.
The second quarter began much the same as the first. Toronto would strike first on a breakaway goal by Derek Suddons followed by another Sanderson goal putting the Rock up 4-1. “Shooter” Sanderson would extend the lead further a minute later giving him a hat trick. The Swarm pulled goalie Matt Disher for Nick Patterson but the goalie change did not stop the Benesch from scoring his second of the night. The Rock would total five straight goals until the Swarm ended their scoreless drought late in the period. The Rock closed the second with a comfortable lead, 7-2.
The Swarm were held in check by Toronto defense throughout the third quarter by taking away any breakaway chances and keeping Minnesota from getting into any offensive rhythm. The Swarm scored first in the third on a Scott Stewart shot followed by Dean Hill’s second of the game bringing the Toronto lead to three goals. Benesch scored his third goal of the night midway through the third period and Minnesota scored another late in the period cutting the lead to three goals ending the quarter, 8-5.
The Rock would take advantage of Swarm penalties early in the fourth quarter. Josh Sanderson and Ryan Benesch would each score his fourth of the night extending the lead 10-5. Toronto secured the lead with additional goals by Blaine Manning and two by Chris Driscoll. The game ended in favour of the Rock 13-6.
Bob Watson was the story of the night, anchoring the defense and playing great between the pipes making 47 saves on 53 shots. Offensively, twelve players registered a point on the night with the barrage led by Josh Sanderson who had six points (5 goals, 1 assist). Rookie Ryan Benesch followed with five points (4 goals, 1 assist) and Aaron Wilson adding four assists.
The Swarm were led by Ryan Ward with four points on four assists followed by Scott Stewart and Sean Pollock with three points a piece.
The Rock (5-7) move one game closer to a play off spot in the East with this big win on the road. Their next game will be played at the ACC on Friday March 30th when they play host to the Philadelphia Wings and look to avenge an early season loss. The game starts at 7:30pm.