ROCK HAND SEALS 14-7 DRUBBING IN FLAWLESS VICTORY
Toronto Clinches Postseason Berth
Back-to-back games, no problem. The Toronto Rock (10-5) were coming off a huge win in Georgia on Friday night and carried that momentum onto home floor in Saturday’s 14-7 victory over the West-leading San Diego Seals (9-4) at FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton. The 8,549 fans were hot from start to finish as the Rock improved to 6-2 at home and clinched a playoff berth in the process.
“I think everyone would have accepted this on Thursday if we said this was going to be the script for the weekend,” said Head Coach Matt Sawyer. “That was a heck of an atmosphere in here and anybody who is a Rock fan and watching us here in Hamilton tonight, I’m sure they will be back again.”
After getting down a couple goals, the Rock roared back to tie the score 2-2 before the end of the first quarter. Zach Manns struck on the power play followed by a Dan Craig goal with just 47 seconds left in the opening frame.
San Diego opened the second quarter scoring in the first minute, but from there it was all Rock and the building was buzzing. Aaron Forster went hard to the net and scored as he was hit from behind into the Seals’ goaltender. The goal counted and Forster found himself in the box for a goaltender interference penalty. A shorthanded goal from Mitch de Snoo just 24 seconds later almost blew the roof off of FirstOntario Centre. The intensity level only picked up from there with the Rock scoring two more times, including another from Forster, to lead 6-3 at the half.
The visitors outscored the Rock 3-2 in the third quarter to close the gap to just a pair heading into the fourth quarter. Both Rock goals came from Latrell Harris.
In the fourth quarter, the Rock just couldn’t stop scoring. The home side buried six straight goals to make it a 7-0 run and put the game well beyond reach for the Seals. Craig turned a two-goal game into a six-goal game over the final half of the fourth. He scored four straight goals in a span of 3:07. An unbelievable night for a player who is emerging as a true star in the NLL.
“This is the biggest growth I’ve seen in a lot of teams (I’ve been a part of),” said Craig. “There’s some guys we’d love to have here that simply aren’t here for whatever reason, but we’ve found it within the depth of the team to be able to have success.”
Nick Rose also turned in a stellar performance in goal and earned the game’s second star. His 35 saves pushed him past the 5,000 career save plateau in a Rock jersey, joining Rock legend Bob Watson as the only two netminders in franchise history to accomplish the feat.
Toronto outshot San Diego 61-48. The Rock were 3-for-7 on the power play while the Seals were 1-for-3.
The Rock’s next game will be on the road in Rochester against the Knighthawks on Saturday, April 9 at Blue Cross Arena.