ROCK CLINCH FIRST ROUND HOME PLAYOFF GAME WITH WIN OVER HALIFAX
Over 10,000 Fans Witness Toronto Rock Triumph
The Toronto Rock (12-5) defeated the Halifax Thunderbirds (9-7) by a score of 15-7 in a one-sided contest at Hamilton’s FirstOntario Centre on Saturday night. The Rock win clinched a first-round home playoff game in front of 10,047 fans.
That first-round, single elimination, home playoff game is scheduled to be played on the weekend of May 6-8 at FirstOntario Centre.
“It means everything,” said Rock Captain Challen Rogers of sewing up the first-round home playoff game. “It gives us time to sell out the building. You look at the fans that we had today, the energy they brought, it just fueled us to get a home playoff game for them. It’s going to be great having a home playoff game.”
The Rock built a 3-1 lead, getting off to one of their best starts of the season. However, a five-minute major for an illegal body check assessed to the Rock’s Bill Hostrawser opened the door for the Thunderbirds to tie the game with a pair of extra-man goals. Rogers stepped up with a late quarter tally to give the Rock a 4-3 lead after one.
With the score 5-3, the Rock’s Reid Reinholdt scored a goal while attempting to tight rope the crease. The officials on the floor ruled it a goal and Halifax allowed the maximum amount of time to expire before the challenged the play, so the goal stood and certainly swung momentum in the Rock’s favour. Tom Schreiber added a pair of goals just 1:33 apart to push the Rock’s lead to 8-3 before the midway point of the second quarter. The Thunderbirds rallied with a three-goal run to close the gap to 8-6 heading to the halftime break.
The Rock hammered home four goals, just 6:51 into the second half. Dan Craig scored the first and last goals on the four-goal outburst but sandwiched in between were Rogers’ second and third goals of the game, just 17 seconds apart. The Rock had built a six-goal lead, up 12-6 heading for home.
In the final quarter, Mitch de Snoo and Dawson scored to make it a six-goal second half run. The two teams traded goals in the late stages, making the final 15-7 Toronto.
The Rock offence was led by two guys who just can’t seem to miss. Craig and Schreiber both finished with identical stat lines, four goals and five assists for nine points. Not to be overlooked was captain Rogers’ three goals and five points.
“You see the crowd tonight, people want to come and watch us in Hamilton, and we want to play in Hamilton, so it was massive for us,” said Craig of the crowd’s energy that helped the Rock clinch a home playoff game.
For only the second time this season, the Rock were outshot, with Halifax holding a 54-46 advantage. Nick Rose made 45 saves to earn his 80th career win, just the seventh goalie in league history to hit that milestone.
The Rock finished the night 1-for-5 on the power play, while Halifax was 2-for-4 with the man up.
The Rock will now enjoy a bye week as they prepare for their final regular season game on the road in Buffalo on Saturday, April 30. The game features the top two teams in the NLL as the Bandits and Rock will be the top two seeds in the East Conference.