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What We Learned From The Preseason About The 2023-24 Toronto Rock

Oakville, ON – The Toronto Rock finished the preseason with a perfect 3-0 record defeating Saskatchewan, Colorado, and Philadelphia on consecutive November Saturdays at the team’s practice and training facility, the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre.

So, what did we learn about the 2023-24 Toronto Rock from the preseason?  Here we go.

The New Guys Are Good

There are some notable new faces that will suit up for the Toronto Rock.  Mark Matthews, Chris Boushy and Dan Lintner were all acquired by trade.  Matthews put up 10 assists in his three preseason games and showed that he’s as good as ever and is still the best passer in the game, probably.  Chris Boushy scored 38 goals last year with Halifax, a true breakout season.  Changing jerseys certainly didn’t change his ability to score as he consistently did damage in exhibition play, netting a hat trick in each game for a 9-goal preseason team leading total.  Lintner proved he’s as crafty as ever and is a reliable complimentary offensive piece of the puzzle.

But let’s get to the unheralded and under the radar story when it comes to the new guys.  Free agent signing Justin Martin appears to be the real deal.  There won’t be many guys in the NLL this season that are faster than him.  Martin tested as the fastest player in Rock training camp, and he proved it on the floor in game action.  He scored a transition goal in each preseason contest, utilizing his zero-to-a-hundred type of acceleration.  He will be an exciting player to watch this season, and he won’t be a secret for much longer.

Life Without Tom

Tom Schreiber played the first preseason game, had three assists but then shut things down and was placed on the Injured Reserve with a lower body injury.  While he recovers, and it’s not expected that Captain America will be out too long, it looks like things will be just fine.

Not only do the Rock have new offensive weapons up front in Matthews, Boushy and Lintner to help fill the void, but sophomore righty forward Josh Dawick finished the preseason with 6 goals, 6 assists and 12 points, tying Boushy for the team lead in points.  Dawick had the opportunity to take the shots that often come from the stick of Schreiber under normal circumstances, and he nailed them.  The biggest of which came in probably the most regular season type situation of the preseason being the impromptu overtime session against Colorado where Dawick scored the OT winner, his fifth goal of the game.

Make no mistake, once Schreiber is back, this offence will be truly loaded.  Loaded, loaded.  Scary loaded.

Rosey was Rosey

After seeing very little action during training camp while he nursed a very minor lower body injury, Nick Rose practiced just once before seeing his first and only game action of the preseason on November 25th against Philadelphia.

He let in the first two shots in that game, but then went on to stop the next 35 of 42 shots he faced and finished the night with a .796 save percentage and 9 goals against.  It was a typical Nick Rose performance.  Hold the opposition under 10, save about 80% of the shots he faced and give his team a great chance to win, which they did.  If his preseason play is any indication, Rose will continue to be one of the NLL’s most consistent goaltenders and give his team the opportunity to win any game, against any team, on any given night.

The Iceman’s Focus

Following a training camp session, Dan Craig was quoted as saying that he wasn’t anticipating a high point total this season, but that his focus would be on some of the finer details of the game.  While Craig is established as a top offensive player in the league, his overall game is as responsible as any forward in the league.  So, what he’s really saying is a potential dip in the measurable personal numbers could translate to an increase in overall team scoring.  Maybe tough math to follow, but if you know, you know.  His teammates will be the biggest benefactors of this approach but don’t be surprised if Craig still scores 30+ goals and 70+ points.

For more information on Toronto Rock tickets, please contact a Toronto Rock account executive by phone at 416-596-3075, by email at tickets@torontorock.com or visit torontorock.com.

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