Last night, playing to a house of lacrosse fans, the Rock looked to continue their preseason on a high note.
As the crowd chanted “Let’s go Rock!” on the team’s third offensive possession, the Rock was the first to score at the 2:11 mark on a shot by Justin Kulla. The Sting evened the score at one goal piece at 6:34 courtesy of Bruce Conn. The Rock’s defense was holding strong late when holding was called on captain Jim Veltman leading to a Sting powerplay goal by Andrew Lazore at 10:55. The Sting’s offence seemed to be on complete control late in the first quarter. The Sting’s Danny Dawson would go get on the board by scoring at 11:42 making the score 3 – 1. The Rock then scored on their first powerplay goal by Josh Sanderson at 12:58. Goalie Bob Watson was playing well late in the quarter, stopping several bullets from Sting players at near point blank distance.
The second quarter started in a similar way as the first but Toronto stuck early as Colin Doyle scored narrowing the Sting lead to 1 goal helping to energize the crowd. The Rock offense seemed to look more alive early on in the quarter. The Sting seemed to be trying to match the Rock’s renewed intensity, but was unable to come away their success in the first quarter. Chris Driscoll was called for holding at 5:13 leading to another powerplay, but the Rock defense held solid only allowing two shots on net. Arizona forward Lindsay Plunkett would go on to score at the 9:13 mark extending their lead to 5 – 3. Both teams seemed to be picking up a sense of urgency late, with both offense and defense playing well. Arizona’s goalkeeper Ron Schbild stopped some key shots when his team was shorthanded. In the combined 4 minutes that Veltman received for a double penalty late in the quarter, the Toronto defense did not give up a goal.
Colin Doyle scores early at the :24 mark in the third quarter that is quickly followed up by Blaine Manning goal at the 1:19, evening the score 5 -5. With the Sting two men short, the Rock looked to take advantage midway through the quarter and they did taking a 6 – 5 lead on the third goal by Doyle at 3:47. The Rock was definitely showing signs of new life killing the powerplay midway. Newly inserted goalkeeper Mike Poulin was stopping everything thrown at him by Arizona. By the end of the quarter, both teams looked to be scrapping it out like tired boxers, but the Rock led for the first time in the game.
On an ensuing powerplay in the fourth, the Rock’s Matt Shearer scores in close at the 1:38 mark upping the lead to 7 -6. Arizona’s Matt Brown quickly responded by scoring on the next play at 2:02. Both teams were playing excellent powerplay defense not allowing a goal the longest stretch of the game before Doyle scored his fourth increasing the lead to 8 – 6. Amidst the chants of “Go Rock Go” by the crowd, Toronto seemed to feed off the energy keeping their defense tight. But with Arizona constantly attacking, the Sting’s Matt Brown scored at the 10:45 mark narrowing the lead to one. Soon after, the Sting’s Conn struck again at 12:32 tying the game at 8 – 8. The go ahead goal was scored by Andy Secore amid the Rock defense looking worn down from playing short for so long. The crowd looked to will Toronto to score with their cheering and the team seemed to play off the energy late but it was not enough. The Rock pulled their goalie in the final minute for an extra attacker but the plan backfired as the Sting’s goalie Brandon Atherton scored their tenth and Lindsay Plunkett scored the eleventh nine seconds later, both on an empty net. The Sting out shoot the Rock on goal 63 – 49 leading the to the final score of 11 – 8 in favor of Arizona.