ROCK DEFEAT RUSH 13-10
Toronto Gets Great Performances Up And Down The Lineup
The Toronto Rock defeated the Saskatchewan Rush 13-10 in front of a standing room only crowd on Saturday night at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville. This game marked the first of three preseason outings scheduled for the Rock.
There was a lot of energy in the building as fans focused their attention on the new faces in the Rock lineup. Whether it was trades, draft picks, or free agents, the Rock left no stone unturned when putting together this year’s group that will battle for Active and Practice Roster spots this month.
Rock City got an early-look at the passing prowess of Mark Matthews who fired a laser to Chris Boushy on the crease to cash-in on the first power play chance of the game for Toronto. The two major off-season acquisitions goal-scoring connection tied the game 1-1. The Rock went ahead 2-1 on a goal from Dan Lintner, who was also acquired in the off-season. The Rush came back to tie the score 2-2 with just under two minutes to play in the quarter.
The Rush scored the first two goals of the second quarter to build a 4-2 lead. However, Dan Craig and Josh Dawick each scored for the Rock to tie the score 4-4 going into halftime.
The first half was a battle of the goaltenders with Troy Holowchuk and Frankie Scigliano guarding their respective cages and each allowing just four goals. Holowchuk made 16 stops for the Rock, while Scigliano made 13 in the Rush goal.
The two teams traded a pair of goals each through the first half of the third quarter, with Boushy scoring both for the home side and making it a hat-trick in his Rock debut. Boushy’s goal would kickstart a four-goal run that included tallies from Brad Kri, Marley Angus, and Justin Martin. Saskatchewan broke up the run to make the score 9-7, but the Rock poured in two goals in the final 18 seconds to lead 11-7 through three quarters. Toronto’s final goal of the quarter was a beautiful tic-tac-goal passing play that saw the ball move swiftly from the sticks of Dawick and Corey Small to captain Challen Rogers who finished off the play on top of the crease.
After Saskatchewan scored to close the gap to three, Toronto’s Cam Milligan scored the goal of the night. He picked up the ball off a rebound and went behind-the-back to beat Thomas Kiazyk in the Rush net. The Rock’s trop draft pick Zack Kearney got in the act with a dunk from behind the net to surge ahead by five goals, 13-8 with 10:46 left in the fourth. The Rush would score a couple late to make it a 13-10 final in favour of the Rock.
“We had some good chemistry right off the bat,” said Boushy. “I think we worked really hard in practice to get some good reps in. Guys playing on the same kind of line, which doesn’t really happen in lacrosse too much. There’s a lot of new pieces on this O, so naturally things aren’t going to click right away but I thought they clicked for the most part. Ball movement was really, really good today. Nobody really held on to the ball too long.”
Holowchuk went the distance in goal for the Rock, finishing with 24 saves, allowing 10 goals. Laine Hruska played the third allowing 7 goals on 9 shots, while Kiazyk gave up just 2 goals on 5 Rock shots.
“We showed a lot of battle, especially our new guys,” said Holowchuk. “They really stepped up to the plate in their first game and I think that our veterans led and the rest of the guys kind of followed in step and we were we were really solid out there.”
Next Saturday night the preseason continues when the Rock will host the Colorado Mammoth at 7pm at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville.