TORONTO – The Toronto Rock open their 2009 home season against the Buffalo Bandits this weekend on Saturday January 10, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre.
The Rock (1-0) look to bring another win to the city in a repeat of last Saturday’s Florida Lacrosse Cup victory. Edging out the New York Titans 15-14, the Rock played in the first-ever professional lacrosse game held in the state of Florida at BankAtlantic Center.
Proving yet again to be an offensive threat, Rock forward Blaine Manning was titled Most Valuable Player after banking seven points (five goals, two assists) in the season opener. Manning’s final goal came with 38 seconds left in regulation, proving to be the game winner. His stellar game and MVP nod earned him NLL Overall Player of the Week honours for the week. The NLL Weekly Player Awards are determined by a vote of the general managers and head coaches of the league’s twelve teams.
“Getting out to a good start both as a team and personally with a win on the road is always the way you want to start a season,” said Manning. “I think it’s the most talent we’ve had on offence since our ’05 championship team. We will however, have to continue to work together like last game in order to be successful week in and week out.”
Lewis Ratcliff and Kasey Beirnes scored three goals apiece for Toronto’s talented offence while newcomer Luke Wiles added a pair. Bill McGlone and Jason Crosbie scored a goal each with Crosbie leading Toronto in assists with six and good for top spot in the NLL in assists.
Defensively, 2008 Goalie of the Year Bob Watson earned the win holding off a fourth quarter Titans rally. After one game, Watson currently leads the NLL in saves with 44.
The Buffalo Bandits are the defending NLL Champions, undefeated in their last six games since April 12, 2008 when they lost 11-6 to the Rochester Knighthawks. The Bandits comes into this matchup with a 1-0 record for 2009 after a 15-11 home win over the Philadelphia Wings last weekend.
The Rock lead Buffalo 17-7 in all-time meetings and triumphed 2-0 in the 2008 season over the Bandits. February 15th 2008 saw Toronto convincingly take the win at home 11-8 followed by a second victory on March 22nd when they dropped the Bandits 13-9 on the road.
The National Lacrosse League announced earlier this week the launch of the NLL Network, an online grid of 13 channels streamed online at NLL.com. The channels will feature live, high-quality online video broadcasts of NLL regular season and playoff games for the 2009 season at no cost to the viewer.
Join the Toronto Rock as they fight to put an end to the Bandits reign and bring the cup back to Toronto. Ball drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.