TORONTO – Despite a tough fight, the Toronto Rock fell to the Buffalo Bandits tonight in an overtime thriller at the Air Canada Centre. Holding the lead for the majority of the game, the Rock were unable to finish on top losing to the Bandits 17-16.
Sporting a Hawaiian third jersey the Rock began the scoring early in the quarter with Ratcliff netting one quickly followed by another from Blaine Manning to take an early lead. Chad Thompson scored his first of the season putting the Rock up by three in the first five minutes of the game.
Buffalo answered back with back to back goals from forwards Mark Steeinhuis and Sean Greenhalgh. The score was tied 3-3 with just under five minutes left in the game before Stephen Hoar and Blaine Manning put two in a row past Bandits goalie Michael Thompson. Buffalo came back with a goal by Mike Accursi but it didn’t take long for forward Mark Scherman to score giving the Rock a two goal lead ending the first quarter 6-4.
Bob Watson, veteran goalie for the Rock made some big saves and the Rock opened the scoring in the second quarter by a diving Jason Crosbie goal and an outside shot fired by Josh Wasson bringing the score to 8-4. After putting in backup goalie Ken Montour, Steeinhuis scored his second of the night only to be followed by another pair of back to back Rock goals by Chad Thompson and defender Scott Campbell. Bob “Whipper” Watson kept the Rock up by five by making some great saves and Ratcliff finished off the scoring for the half bringing it to 11-5.
The Bandits controlled the third quarter scoring with four straight goals from Cory Bomberry, Steenhuis and two from John Tavares. Luke Wiles put one in the Bandits net, his tenth of the season before John Tavares scored another two, his fourth and fifth of the game. Buffalo tied the score up at 12-12 on a Steeinhuis goal just before Luke Wiles gave Toronto the lead once again scoring twice within the last minute of the quarter.
Beginning the fourth quarter at 14-12, the two teams exchanged goals, the Bandits scoring twice and Josh Wasson scoring his second of the game for the Rock. As the quarter narrowed down, the Rock led 16-14 before Steenhuis tied the game at 16-16 forcing sudden death overtime.
The Bandits took the game 46 seconds into overtime when Steenhuis scored his eighth of the night.
Chad Thompson and Luke Wiles were top scorers for the Rock, each with three. Blaine Manning and Lewis Ratcliff both tallied seven points, each with two goals and four assists.
Mark Steenhuis led the Bandits with eight goals and one assist. Goaltender Ken Montour recorded the win for Buffalo.
The Rock (2-5) host the Minnesota Swarm (2-4) next Friday February 27th at 7:30 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre.