The Toronto Rock (3-0) beat the Rochester Knighthawks (2-1) tonight at the Air Canada Centre in front of 10,104 fans to remain undefeated.
Rock owner Jamie Dawick announced at the beginning of the game that for every goal Toronto scored, the Rock would donate $1,000 to World Vision for the earthquake relief efforts in Haiti. The domination of Rochester totalled a Toronto donation of $17,000.
Toronto goal tender Bob Watson earned game MVP for stopping 45 of Rochester’s 48 shots. Garrett Billings led the Rock with eight points from five goals and three assists.
In goal Pat O’Toole and Aaron Bold combined for 39 saves for the Knighthawks and were led by Shawn Evans with a goal and an assist.
In his first game of the 2010 season Cam Woods scored the first goal of the game followed by defensive teammate Jeff Gilbert. Rookie Garrett Billings struck next to give Toronto the 3-0 lead 5:21 into the game. Mike Hobbins continued to extend the Rock lead scoring the game’s fourth. Billings drained his second and third past Rochester netminder Pat O’Toole for the hat trick even before the first quarter finished, causing the Knighthawks to change goal keepers in favour of Aaron Bold.
Rochester got on the board to start the second quarter from a Scott Evans goal past Bob Watson. After nine minutes of scoreless play, dominated by defence, Billings scored his tenth goal of the season and fourth of the night. Kasey Beirnes posted Toronto’s eighth and Mike Hominuck the ninth to end the first half with the Rock leading 9-1.
Captain Colin Doyle opened scoring in the second half, bringing Toronto’s donation to the Haiti relief efforts up to $10,000. Shawn Evans scored the Knighthawks’ second goal of the game, but Billings answered back with Toronto’s eleventh goal, his fifth of the night tying his personal professional career best set in Boston on January 9. Pat McCready, in his first full game in a Rock uniform, dropped a shorthanded goal past O’Toole who was back in Rochester’s net. John Grant Jr. finally got past Watson, a wall in Toronto’s net, but Blaine Manning struck with 2:04 on the clock in the third to bring the score to 13-3.
Hominuck scored his second of the night to start the fourth quarter, followed by Beirnes’ second and third to bring Toronto’s tally to 16. #17 Stephan Leblanc was next scoring number 17 for the Rock. The clock would run out leaving the final score 17-3.
The Rock travel to Rochester next weekend to finish their home-and-home series with the Knighthawks. Game time is 8:05 at Blue Cross Arena. The Rock return home to the Air Canada Centre on February 5 when they host the Philadelphia Wings.