Toronto Defeats Halifax 15-11 To Advance
The Toronto Rock are moving on after a 15-11 NLL Quarterfinals playoff win over the Halifax Thunderbirds on Friday night at FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, ON. The win advances the Rock to the best-of-three NLL Semifinals against the winner of tomorrow’s Buffalo vs. Rochester matchup.
The Rock and Thunderbirds met one year ago in the first round of the playoffs; it was an overtime thriller won by the Rock. Tonight’s game had a very similar script with the Rock playing from in front in the second half, but the Thunderbirds never gave up.
“Yeah, they didn’t stop,” said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer of the fight the Thunderbirds put up. “I think we were up 11-6, so you’re kind of breathing a little easily on the bench and then boom, that’s gone. That’s similar to last year, but we didn’t make it quite as close. They are a real good team; we’ve had some excellent games against them and tonight was another one.”
The started fast with a Stephen Keogh goal but Halifax answered within seconds. Both goaltenders shut the door for the next ten minutes before the Rock scored two goals, just 18 seconds apart to lead 3-1 after one.
After the Rock built a 5-2 lead just under five minutes into the second quarter, Halifax went on a three-goal run to end the half tied 5-5.
With the score tied 6-6, the Rock went on a three-goal run that defined the second half. Halifax didn’t have an answer to break up the run and Toronto led 9-6 through three quarters.
The Rock pushed that run to five goals and led by that same number, up 11-6. Halifax showed some real pushback, scoring the next three to close the gap to 11-9. Zach Manns’ third goal of the night made it 12-11 and that hat-trick-tally would stand up as the game winner. The Rock tacked on three empty-net goals, while the Thunderbirds scored twice to make the final 15-11.
“When you get to the playoffs, you know there’s no guarantees you’re going to play again,” said Manns. “You’ve just got to put 110% effort into it. We did that tonight.”
Manns led the point parade for the Rock adding three assists to his three goals for a six-point game. Corey Small also scored three times. Dan Craig and Keogh both scored twice. Singles came from Latrell Harris, Greg Downing, Mitch de Snoo, Dan Dawson, and Adam Jay. In a bit of an odd twist, Craig had three goals called back following video review by the officials.
Both teams had success on the power play. The Rock were 3-for-7 with the man up, while the Thunderbirds were 3-for-5 on their chances. Toronto outshot Halifax 53-41.
Tickets are on sale now for the Rock’s NLL Semifinals home playoff game on Saturday, May 13 at FirstOntario Centre.
For more information on tickets, please visit torontorock.com, call the Rock Ticket Office at 416-596-3075 or email us at email@example.com.