TORONTO – The Toronto Rock travel to Buffalo, NY to take on defending National Lacrosse League (NLL) Champions, the Buffalo Bandits on Saturday, February 14th. Ball drop is 7:30 p.m. at HSBC Arena.
There will be no love lost between these rivals during the Valentine’s Day matchup, their second of 2009. Toronto fell 8-6 to the champs on January 10th in the Rock home opener. The close game saw Toronto take the lead till midway through the fourth quarter when two goals from Mark Steenhuis and one from John Tavares solidified the win for Buffalo.
After two low-scoring home losses the new Rock coaching staff all agreed that Toronto wasn’t scoring as many goals as they should and something needed to change. The target: offensive style.
“We are playing more of a transition game because the faster you get down the floor, the more shots you can take, and hopefully the more goals you can score,” said Rock head coach Jamie Batley. “I believe everyone on the floor is a goal scorer when they have the ball.”
The new style proved successful as the Toronto Rock (2-3) got their first home win of the season last Saturday over the Edmonton Rush. Toronto points leaders Lewis Ratcliff and Jason Crosbie added four goals apiece, good for half of Toronto’s tally in the Rock’s 16-9 victory. Stephen Hoar, Blaine Manning, Scott Campbell, Kasey Beirnes, Rob Marshall, and Craig Conn chipped in a single each for the Rock.
Toronto Captain Chris Driscoll added two goals to the tally, his first and second of the season. In addition to the goals, Driscoll had one assist and scooped up 11 loose balls on the night. His role in the win earned him the title of NLL Transition Player of the Week.
“Chris really contributes to the offence,” added Batley. “He has a great shot, can run fast and lead the charge with goals.”
The Buffalo Bandits (5-1) were handed their first loss of the season after giving up a 10-8 fourth quarter lead to the Philadelphia Wings to lose 13-11. The Bandits loss now leaves the Calgary Roughnecks (5-0) as the lone undefeated team in the league. Steenhuis leads Buffalo in points with 37 from 19 goals and 18 assists. Bandits goalie Ken Montour is undefeated in his three appearances this season, and is league leader in both goals against average (6.67) and save percentage (87%).
Don’t miss any of the road action. 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. Never miss a shot; watch every ball drop live or on demand in your free time.
The Toronto versus Buffalo game on February 14th has been chosen as the NLL Game of the Week on SIRIUS Satellite Radio. A live radio broadcast of the game will be carried on SIRIUS channel 91 for all SIRIUS Satellite Radio subscribers.
Toronto’s next home game is Friday, February 20th against the Buffalo Bandits in the second half of a home-and-home series. Game time is 7:00 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre.