TORONTO – The Toronto Rock begin their home-and-away weekend on Friday, February 27th when they host the Minnesota Swarm at the Air Canada Centre at 7:30 p.m. The Rock then hit the road to battle the Rochester Knighthawks at Blue Cross arena on Saturday, February 28th at 7:35 p.m.
The Rock (2-5) come into this weekend series fresh off a heartbreaking 17-16 over-time loss to the Buffalo Bandits last Friday. Toronto held the lead over the defending National Lacrosse League (NLL) Champs for the majority of the game but couldn’t keep league leading goal scorer Mark Steenhuis at bay, as he netted eight goals for Buffalo including the over-time game winner.
“We had great offence last week,” said Rock head coach, Jamie Batley. “I can see a very noticeable improvement since my first game.”
Goal leaders for the Rock were Chad Thompson and Luke Wiles; both added three goals to Toronto’s tally.
For the seventh consecutive week, Jason Crosbie leads the Rock in points with 34 (10 goals, 24 assists).
Minnesota also holds a 2-5 season record. Swarm forward Ryan Ward leads Minnesota with 30 points from 17 goals and 13 assists. Minnesota’s wins came in the first two weeks of the NLL season with an 11-7 win over the Portland LumberJax and a 10-7 triumph over the San Jose Stealth. Since then the Swarm have been dealt five straight losses. The Rock and Swarm sit 4-4 in all-time meetings, with Minnesota taking both 2008 contests.
“Minnesota has great offence; they move well and shoot often,” said Batley. “They are better than their record states.”
“These are very important games,” Batley adds about this weekend’s matchups. “We have to take one game at a time and hope for a positive outcome. The guys have worked very hard; getting the wins would be even more of a positive reinforcement for their confidence.”
Saturday brings a Rock road trip to Rochester, NY, Toronto’s second of 2009. The Rochester Knighthawks (2-5) collected win number two of the season last Saturday after completely dominating the New York Titans 15-7. Rochester’s Shawn Williams has banked 40 points (12 goals, 28 assists) so far this season and sits tied for fifth in the league in assists.
Toronto and Rochester met on January 31st in Rochester when the Knighthawks captured their first win of the season with a close 13-11 score over the Rock.
“Jamie (Batley) has worked really hard with Toronto since he took over,” said Rochester Knighthawks general manager, Regy Thorpe. “They are a better team now; we expect this game to be a battle.”
Never miss a shot, even if you can’t make the game. The Toronto Rock website has a direct link to the NLL Network featuring high quality online video broadcasts of the NLL regular season and playoff games for the 2009 season. Watch every ball drop live or on demand in your free time.