Toronto Will Have To Wait Another Week To Clinch Playoff Spot
Saskatoon, SK – The Toronto Rock (8-9) dropped their fourth consecutive game and dropped below .500 for the first time this season after a 15-10 loss to the back-to-back defending champion, Saskatchewan Rush (11-5) on Saturday night in Saskatoon, SK. The Rush outscored the Rock 5-0 in the third quarter, which proved to be the difference in the game.
“I felt we got a little bit better, but in the end it wasn’t good enough to win against a team like this on the road,” said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer after the loss. “We need to get better and keep fighting and stick together. There’s no use in pointing fingers right now.”
The Rock now sit in a second place tie with the New England Black Wolves, who also lost on Saturday night. The good news is, a Rock win next Saturday night in Buffalo to wrap up the regular season and a New England loss to Vancouver and the Rock would host the East Division semi-final game against the Black Wolves.
However, a loss by Toronto to Buffalo next Saturday, combined with two wins by the Rochester Knighthawks over the Georgia Swarm and a loss by New England to Vancouver creating a three-way tie at 8-10 between New England, Rochester and Toronto would see the Rock miss the playoffs. Any loss by Rochester or a New England win also clinches a playoff spot for the Rock because that eliminates the possibility of a three-way tie. If the Rock and Knighthawks finish tied at 8-10, the Rock win that tie-breaker as the Rock won the season series 2-1. So yes, there are a few scenarios going into the final weekend of the season.
After giving up the first two goals of the game, the Rock buried four straight goals to take a 4-2 first quarter lead. In the process, Rock rookie Tom Schreiber’s assist on Dan Lintner’s first quarter goal was his second point of the game, breaking the Rock rookie point record of 83, previously held by Garrett Billings.
Saskatchewan once again potted the first two goals of the quarter to open the scoring in the second and tie the score 4-4. Brett Hickey’s third goal of the game was followed by a pair of Rush tallies, and the Rock found themselves trailing 6-5. Jesse Gamble scored shorthanded, but Saskatchewan struck for their third power play goal of the half just seconds later. Schreiber took matters into his own hands, beating Rush defender Travis Cornwall to the goal and diving through the air to tie the game 7-7.
It was all Rush in the third quarter. Five straight goals for Saskatchewan including their fourth power play goal of the game gave the home side a 12-7 lead through three quarters.
The Rock and Rush were even in the final quarter, with each team scoring three times, making the final 15-10. The closest the Rock could come was getting within four goals.
Toronto goal scorers were Hickey with four, and Schreiber and Lintner each with a pair. Singles came from Gamble and Reid Reinholdt. Goaltender Nick Rose made 34 saves on 49 shots and was credited with the loss for Toronto.
The Rock will close out the regular season on the road next Saturday night against the Buffalo Bandits at 7:30pm at the KeyBank Center. Spots are still available on the fan bus. Book your seat at torontorock.com/bustrip. 2018 Toronto Rock Season Tickets are now on sale, please visit torontorock.com or call 416-596-3075.