Toronto, ON – The Edmonton Rush took a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-3 NLL Champion’s Cup Final with a 15-9 win over the Toronto Rock on Saturday night at Air Canada Centre.
I can’t point the finger at any one guy, there were mistakes by 16 guys here tonight,” said Rock Head Coach John Lovell. “That’s what happens when you play a good team and give them credit, they forced a lot of the mistakes that were made. That wasn’t the team that I know.”
The Rock were red hot out of the gate scoring the first two goals of the quarter with Kasey Beirnes getting credit for a goal that bounced in off of him and Brock Sorensen scoring in transition. From there, it was all Rush in the opening quarter scoring 5 straight goals with one coming on the power play and one coming while a man down. Shots on goal were 18-17 in favour of Edmonton as they led 5-2 after one quarter.
The Rush continued their run, scoring the first goal of the second quarter to make it 6-2. Rock netminder Brandon Miller was pulled after that goal and it seemed to give Toronto a little spark with Nick Rose entering the game. Kasey Beirnes and Rob Hellyer closed the gap with a pair of goals, however it didn’t take long for the Rush to get back on a roll, scoring three straight to build a 9-4 lead at halftime.
Miller was back in the game and Kevin Crowley scored early in the second half to ignite the crowd and make it a 9-5 game. Unfortunately, as would be the theme for most of the quarter, the Rush would answer back. Toronto’s biggest run of the frame was just two goals but they were able to inch closer, trailing 12-8 at the end of three quarters.
Edmonton built on a late third quarter marker and scored three more times in the first 5:46 of the fourth quarter to lead 15-8. Brett Hickey managed one more tally for the Rock, but that was the end of the scoring, as Edmonton secured the game one win.
“Everything that went wrong here tonight is what we normally do well,” explained Lovell. “We look after the ball, we have resets, we challenge other teams in terms of fighting for the ball and trying to get to the net and fighting teams in terms of getting to our net. We didn’t lose because Edmonton was so great, we lost because what we normally do well we didn’t do tonight.”
Kevin Crowley (2,2) and Rob Hellyer (1,3) each had 4-point nights to lead the Rock offensively. Edmonton’s scoring was spread out but Mark Matthews and Robert Church each scored 3 goals and 3 assists.
Game 2 of the series will shift back to Edmonton on Friday, June 5th at Rexall Place. The game will be broadcast live on TSN1 and TSN4 at 9:30pm ET. If necessary, Game 3 will be played on Saturday, June 13 at 7:00pm at Air Canada Centre. Tickets for that game will go on sale if the Rock wins Game 2. For the BEST ticket in town and more information, please visit torontorock.com or call 416-596-3075.