The Rock played host to the Calgary Roughnecks on the back end of their home and home series. The Roughnecks were looking to pay back Toronto after the loss they took in front of their hometown fans Friday night. In a very physical game that saw 67 penalty minutes and two misconducts for fighting, Calgary came out on top 17-13.
The Rock were looking to build on the previous night’s momentum for the home crowd, bringing the same energy they scored first on a breakaway by Phil Sanderson assisted by Dan Ladouceur at the 1:44 mark. The Roughnecks tied the game up shortly after on a Scott Ranger goal. The Roughnecks were playing with a new life that wasn’t seen Friday aggressively attacking on offense and playing very physical defense. Calgary took an early lead with Ranger scoring his second of the night on a power play and added another on an empty net to make it three to one midway through the quarter. Chad Thompson cut into the early lead by scoring his sixth of the year unassisted, but the Rock would give up another power play goal late in the period putting themselves in hole again by two. They would give up a shorthanded goal before scoring on a power play on Blaine Manning’s first goal of the night to end the quarter down five to three.
It looked like the Rock had a complete reversal of fortune from a night ago and Calgary would score two very quick goals early in the second putting them up by four. A game misconduct to Patrick Merrill for fighting and a penalty for Brad MacArthur would put Calgary in another power play situation that they took advantage of to widen the lead to five goals. Chad “Stompin'” Thompson brought the Rock one goal closer on his second of the night. A fight between Rob Marshall and Kerry Susheski resulting in Susheski being given a game misconduct seemed to light the fire for Toronto and they would continue to chip away at the deficit first on rookie Ryan Benesch’s rocket during a Roughneck penalty situation followed midway through the quarter with another from captain Jim Veltman. The half would end with Calgary leading Toronto 11-6.
The Rock were more settled in the third minimizing Calgary’s scoring chances and showing more intensity on offense aggressively attacking the Roughnecks’ defense. A Calgary goal midway in the third would see Mike Poulin enter the game to replace Bob Watson with the Rock down thirteen to eight. Calgary added another goal to up the lead to six going into the final period.
Toronto opened the scoring in the fourth quarter on a great right to left move by Rusty Kruger for his second of the year. The Rock tightened up their defense and added another two goals midway through the period by Blaine Manning and then Thompson’s fourth on a steal and break away. The lead was cut to three goals and the crowd of 15,312 back to life at the ACC. Sanderson would bring the Rock closer with his fourteenth of the season but the Calgary answered with one of their own. Poulin was pulled with under two minutes left in the game but Calgary would add one more to put the lead to four goals. A late goal by Matt Shearer would not be enough to close out the margin on this night as the Rock fall to the Roughnecks 17-13.
Toronto was led on offense Josh Sanderson with eight points (1 goal, 7 assists) followed by captain Jim Veltman (1 goal, 4 assists) and Blaine Manning (2 goals, 3 assists) who tallied five points a piece. Chad Thompson would also have a big night scoring four goals for a total of ten on the season.
The Roughnecks were led by Scott Ranger and Tracey Kelusky who both tallied four points on three goals and one assist each. Lewis Radcliff followed with one goal and three assists.
Calgary’s Andrew Leyshon would get the win tonight over the Toronto tandem of Bob Watson and Mike Poulin.
The Rock’s winning streak ends at four games as they fall to 4-4. Toronto will be heading to the Big Apple to face off against the New York Titans in their first meeting of the season with the game scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. start on Saturday March 3rd 2007.