Anaheim, CA – The Toronto Rock endured a 4 hour bus trip to Detroit and a flight change in Phoenix in their first cross country trek to Anaheim. Despite the long trip, the Rock arrived in California fired up and ready to put last week’s 14-12 loss to the Buffalo Bandits behind them. 4,499 Storm fans arrived at Arrowhead Pond, eager to see their hometown boys take a much need win but would a 5 game losing streak be their motivation or their demise?
The Rock opened scoring just 1:54 into the first. Aaron Wilson went straight down the pipe with a pass from Rusty Kruger and put one past Matt Roik to give the Rock the 1-0 lead. Toronto’s Luke Forget took a 2 minute penalty for fighting, giving Anaheim the opportunity to tie it up. Instead, Toronto’s Rusty Kruger netted one of his own shorthanded. Manning tallied his first of the night and Shearer drilled one into the top corner of the net from outside to give the Rock the 4 point advantage at the end of the first.
Sandy Chapman opened for the Rock in the 2nd as he picked one off of the Storm’s defenders and slid it past Roik. Chris Driscoll, put in the Rock’s 6th marker of the afternoon on a breakaway opportunity. The Storm took a 2 minute bench minor penalty that paved the way for Manning’s 2nd goal of the afternoon and the Rock’s 2nd powerplay goal in 3 opportunities. Chris Driscoll then took a 2 minute penalty of his own for slashing at 13:39 giving Anaheim the opportunity once again. Rock Captain Jim Veltman scooped up a looseball on a breakaway that landed him in a 1 on 1 situation with Matt Roik. Veltman stood right on the crease and faked 4 times before finally slipping the ball into the bottom corner of the net. The Rock’s Bob Watson held the Storm at bay in the first half, allowing no goals and setting a franchise record for fewest goals allowed in a half. Watson’s outstanding play in combination with a fired up Rock offense gave Toronto the 8-0 lead at the halfway mark.
The Storm came back from the half, ready to end their scoring drought. Ryan Powell struck first at 1:48 followed by Casey Powell just 12 seconds later. Two quick Anaheim goals did not phase the Rock as they answered with two of their own just minutes later. Josh Sanderson and Colin Doyle teamed up to wreak havoc on the Storm’s defense as the two of them combined and gave the Rock their next 6 goals and momentum that carried them into the 4th.
BJ Potter, Shawn Cable, Casey Powell and Adam Bysouth, each added one for the Storm bringing them to 6 points but the commanding 8 point lead that the Rock had established in the first half would be the Storm’s demise. The Rock ran away with a 14-6 win over the Anaheim Storm. Rock high scorers were Colin Doyle and Josh Sanderson who each tallied 7 points (3G, 4A) and Blaine Manning (2G, 4A). Bob Watson was also a top performer on the day as he held the Storm scoreless in 31:48 of play.