BUFFALO – The Toronto Rock won a pair of exhibition scrimmages 9-5 over the Arizona Sting and 7-1 over the Buffalo Bandits.
Rookie hopeful Matt Taylor scored five goals and added two assists in the pair of games, including a four-goal performance in the first scrimmage against Arizona.
“The scrimmages were an opportunity for some guys who were battling to make the team,” said assistant coach Matt Sawyer. “They did what we wanted them to, and it’s going to make it tough for us to make the final decisions on our roster.”
“It was a good weekend overall for both the veterans and rookies.”
Against Buffalo, Jay Preece held the Bandits scoreless in the first half and held a shutout until Buffalo’s Pete Raynar scored at 9:05 of the second half. Preece stopped 27 of 28 shots in the 50-minute scrimmage.
Tyler Gibbons, another rookie hopeful and the Rock’s first overall draft pick in 2005 (2nd Round, 15th overall), finished with three goals and two assists on the day, with all goals coming against the Bandits.
Phil Wetherup was also impressive against Arizona, stopping 25 of 29 shots against Arizona. He also added an assist.
The Rock coaching staff will release a final 23-man active roster on Dec. 13, along with the three-man practice squad.
In the first game against Arizona, the Sting jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with a pair of goals on fastbreaks in the opening three minutes. But Toronto responded with four unanswered goals to end the half, including a hattrick from Taylor, a Whitby native who recently won a university field lacrosse championship with the Brock Badgers.
In the second frame, Arizona opened the scoring once again, but Rob Marshall and Aaron Wilson responded to extend the lead to 6-3, and the Rock never looked back.
Toronto also received singles from Gibbons, Rusty Kruger and Blaine Manning.
In the Buffalo scrimmage, Toronto six goals before Buffalo could solve Rock keeper Jay Preece. Toronto received three goals from Gibbons, a pair from Wilson, and singles from J.J. Dickie and Taylor.
Be there when the Rock unveil their 2005 championship banner in a rematch of the 2005 Champion’s Cup against the Arizona Sting, Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre. For tickets call Ticketmaster at 416-872-5000 or visit www.ticketmaster.ca.
“”It’s going to make it tough for us to make the final decisions on our roster.” — Matt Sawyer, Assistant Coach”