The Toronto Rock advance to the National Lacrosse League Champion’s Cup final after a dominating 15-10 victory over the Orlando Titans Saturday night at Amway Arena.
Rock head coach Troy Cordingley moves on to the NLL final for the second consecutive year and knows Toronto’s will and team effort secured the spot.
“We took the game over again,” said Codingley of the third quarter surge. “We had the will to win, and our guys showed it again.”
The 2010 East Division Champions have not been to the big show since the 2005 when they hosted the Arizona Sting to win the title. The Rock will be on the road, facing the winner of the Washington versus Edmonton game that will be decided later this evening.
Kasey Beirnes was named game MVP for Toronto recording a team-high three goals.
“We have a team in there that is confident, and people need to watch out for us,” said Beirnes. “Things are going well and we are playing well.”
Bob Watson recorded the win in the Rock’s net stopping 38 of 48 shots. Watson improves to 13-4 in the post-season.
Josh Wasson opened game scoring seven minutes into the game after spectacular goaltending on both sides. Stephan Leblanc was the next to get past Matt Vinc with a shorthanded goal, but it was quickly answered by Orlando’s Pat Maddalena. Garrett Billings dropped in Toronto’s third that was again matched by the Titans, this time by Mike McLellan.
Greg Peyser scored at the beginning of the second quarter for Orlando to even the score at three, after eight minutes of defensive play Maddalena and Casey Powell got past Bob Watson for their first lead of the night. Beirnes brought the Rock back onto the board with his second of the game to end the first half with the Rock down by one.
Blaine Manning started the second half with a rocket past Vinc just outside the restraining line to tie the game, and teammate Josh Wasson pushed the Toronto tally to six. Orlando’s McLellan squares it back up, but it didn’t last for long before Toronto found Vinc’s weak spot. Beirnes recorded the hat trick to push Toronto back into the lead and captain Colin Doyle and Leblanc followed with insurance. Mike Hominuck and defender Jeff Gilbert got in on the third quarter action to bring the Rock up to 11.
Manning continued to push into the final quarter of play with his second goal of the night. McLellan sunk his third past Watson but Mike Hobbins extended the lead back to six, finding Vinc out of his net. Billings continued the surge but McLellan kept pushing for the Titans, becoming the game’s leading goal scorer with four. Wasson for Toronto and John Orsen for Orlando continued the back and forth. Maddalena scored the final goal of the night, but the Rock held on with the 15-10 victory.
Toronto will go on to face the West champions, the Washington Stealth, on Saturday, May 15 at 10:30 p.m. EST to determine the winner of the Champion’s Cup. The game will be aired live on the NLL Network at NLL.com, as well as on Versus on Sunday, May 16 at 2 p.m. EST and TSN2 at a time to be announced.