TORONTO – The Toronto Rock opened the 2009 season tonight with a 15-14 win over the New York Titans. It was the first game of the season for both teams as well as the first game ever played in the state of Florida and the Rock were successful in getting their season off to a 1-0 start as a result of solid goaltending and a tough defensive effort.
Blaine Manning led the Rock offence with six points (4 goals, 2 assists) and the fierce goaltending of Bob Watson held on for a close win in the final minute of the game.
The scoring started less than a minute into the game by Titans forward Casey Powell and New York took a quick two goal lead. Manning scored the first Rock goal with an assist by Rock newcomer Luke Wiles followed by a short handed goal from Lewis Ratcliff to tie it up. The Titans scored another goal before the end of the quarter and entered the break with a 3-2 lead.
The Rock took control of the second quarter early on with a goal each by Ratcliff and Kasey Beirnes putting the Rock into the lead. Big saves by Watson in the 2nd quarter were key before Titans forward Mike McLellan put one past the veteran goalie managing to tie the game up with six minutes left in the quarter.
Restoring the second quarter lead for the Rock was Kasey Beirnes with two back to back goals, his second and third of the game, one of which was challenged (and ruled as a goal) after the crew chief official turned to an instant replay to review the play. The Titans quickly responded and the score was tied 6-6 after two goals by Brendan Mundorf and Greg Peyser.
Ratcliff scored again with just under three minutes left on a diving goal in front of the net and the two teams exchanged another goal each before the first half ended including a huge unassisted goal by Wiles, his first with the Toronto Rock. The Rock held the lead 8-7 heading into the third quarter.
Blaine Manning scored his second goal of the game on a Rock powerplay to begin the third quarter. Jason Crosbie, another new addition to the Rock roster this season scored his first goal with the team and Wiles collected a hat trick. Casey Powell finished on two powerplay goals and while the Titans were outshooting the Rock, Toronto held a 12-9 lead by the end of the quarter.
Despite a diving effort from Watson, Powell took the first goal in the fourth quarter followed by another Titans point by Jamie Rooney. The Rock secured the next two from Blaine Manning and yet another Rock newcomer, Bill McGlone putting them back to 14-11. The Titans fought back with three unanswered goals and the Rock found themselves in a 14-14 tie with under two minutes left in the game.
A stellar save by Watson led to a Toronto possession and Blaine Manning scoring the game winner with :38 seconds left to secure the 15-14 Toronto Rock win.
Offensively, the Rock were led by Blaine Manning who tallied four goals while Kasey Beirnes and Luke Wiles contributed three goals each. Lewis Ratcliff secured eight points (3 goals, 5 assists) and Jason Crosbie contributed one goal and six assists in the Rock victory. Watson finished with 44 saves.
The Toronto Rock host the Buffalo Bandits next weekend at home on Saturday January 10th at the Air Canada Centre. Ball drop scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Tickets available at www.ticketmaster.ca or 416-872-8000.
There will be a FREE shuttle bus going to and from the ACC and Jack Astor’s John/Richmond location, beginning right after the game, and running until approx. 10:30pm. The pickup area is located on Bay St, right outside Gate 2. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the best post-game party in Toronto!