Calgary, AB – The Toronto Rock opened their 15th NLL season with a 13-11 win in Calgary over the Roughnecks in front of 11,653 fans at a raucous Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night.
“That was an absolute battle,” said Rock Head Coach Troy Cordingley. “We had to fight for everything, every inch tonight, and we earned that win.”
Stephen Hoar won the opening faceoff and buried Toronto’s first shot on goal just 7 seconds into the opening quarter. The Rock never trailed in the opening 15 minutes and exchanged goals with the Rock leading 3-2 after one.
Toronto’s transition game dominated the second quarter of play with Rob Marshall scoring shorthanded and fellow defenders Mike Hobbins and Jesse Gamble also used their speed to find the net. Stephan Leblanc had the other Rock goal in the frame, as the Rock led 7-4 at the half.
The Rock specials teams were the story to open the second half, taking advantage of a 5-minute major for roughing assessed to Calgary’s Nolan Heavenor. Toronto cashed for 3 power play goals in the quarter, however Calgary scored 3 goals of their own with one coming on the man up. Toronto held the same three-goal edge they had to finish the first half, leading 10-7.
The Evans brothers, Scott for Toronto and Shawn for Calgary, each scored for their respective clubs early in the final quarter as the two clubs continued their back and forth battle. Curtis Dickson and Geoff Snider scored for the Roughnecks to make it a one-goal game midway through the frame.
Veteran Kasey Beirnes answered the bell and restored Toronto’s three-goal edge with a pair of goals. Colin Doyle played a part in setting up both tallies as a part of two magnificent passing plays. Calgary scored once more, however the Rock closed the door in the final moments to hang on for the win.
Beirnes’ 3 goals and 2 assists along with Doyle’s 5 assists led all Rock point getters. Garrett Billings chipped in with four assists and Stephan Leblanc and Josh Sanderson each scored a pair of goals for Toronto.
Nick Rose made 45 saves for the win and is now 6-1 all-time in the regular season as a member of the Toronto Rock. Mike Poulin went the distance in goal for Calgary stopping 35 shots in the losing effort.
Toronto has a quick turnaround as they travel to Edmonton to face the Rush on Sunday afternoon at 4pm ET. The game can be see live online at nll.com.
Rock defender Damon Edwards left the game in the first half and did not return. He will be re-evaluated prior to Sunday’s game in Edmonton.
The Rock will open the home portion of the 2013 schedule on Saturday, January 19th at Air Canada Centre at 7pm against the Philadelphia Wings. For the best ticket in town, please call 416-596-3075 or visit www.torontorock.com.