The Toronto Rock (2-0) host the Rochester Knighthawks (2-0) at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday, January 23 at 7:00 p.m. ET.
“We have a defensive system that likes to put pressure on teams, and that’s what we’ll be showing the Knighthawks on Saturday,” said Terry Sanderson, Toronto Rock general manager and assistant defensive coach. “We are sticking to it, and working with it.”
Strong defence will be needed to stop Rochester’s offensive weapons in John Grant Jr., Shawn Williams and Gary Gait who combine for 12 of Rochester’s 23 goals so far this season.
“It is going to take a little more time,” said Rochester head coach Paul Gait in regards to his team’s offensive chemistry. “Our offence is only half buying into the system.”
The Rock fall short with a 9-18 all-time regular season record against the Knighthawks, but have a 9-4 winning record against their New York state rivals at home in Toronto.
“We are looking forward to the game,” adds Sanderson. “We aren’t quite sure what we have in Toronto yet. To try and measure up with arguably one of the best offensive teams it will be good to see where we stand.”
The last time Toronto began a season 2-0 was in 2005, but lost the third game to the Knighthawks. To start the 2000 season Toronto ran over their first three opponents only to be stopped by Rochester.
Heading into Week 3 Toronto is undefeated thanks to sweeping a home-and-home series with the Boston Blazers. Yesterday the league announced that Rock Captain Colin Doyle was named NLL Overall and Offensive Player of the Week, with credit for Toronto’s 8-7 overtime nail-biter going to Doyle along with rookies Garrett Billings and Stephan Leblanc. In a game that saw four ejected Toronto players after only four minutes of play, one of these three was involved in every one of the Rock’s eight goals including the OT winner, drained by Billings and assisted by both Doyle and Leblanc.
Saturday’s battle of the undefeated will be shown live at 7:00 p.m. from the Air Canada Centre on TSN2. No matter the outcome, the two teams will meet again next Saturday, January 30 at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY for the second of three meetings this season.