ROCK LOSE FOR THE FIRST TIME ON THE ROAD

Buffalo Tops Toronto 14-12

Buffalo, NY – The Toronto Rock (11-3) lost for the first time on the road this season, dropping a tough 14-12 decision to the Buffalo Bandits (7-6) on Saturday night at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY.  Despite the Rock loss, Philadelphia’s win over Georgia was enough to clinch the Rock a postseason berth.

“Obviously we just weren’t good enough for the full 60,” said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer.  “There were lots of points in that game where you felt we had it under control and we got a three-goal lead there in the second half.  We have to figure it out.  We need to worry about ourselves and just make sure that we have our best game start to finish regardless of our opponent.”

What a roller coaster ride it was in the opening quarter.  The Rock couldn’t have hoped for a better start to this road game, with Chris Boushy scoring just 25 seconds into the game.  Just over a minute later Tom Schreiber made it 2-0.  And then, it was a carousel of chaos with both teams trading goals, but it was the Bandits turning the momentum with a three-goal run to end the quarter up 6-5.

Momentum can swing in a hurry in the game of lacrosse.  A shutout quarter of lacrosse will do that as the Rock defence showed us a bit more of what we usually expect from one of the league’s best units.  On the offensive side of the ball, the Rock continued to cash in their opportunities.  Corey Small scored three times to run his goal total to four at the half and Boushy scored again, his third of the game, and the Rock led 9-6 at halftime.

In the third quarter, both teams settled right into a defensive battle.  Both teams went scoreless until Buffalo’s Josh Byrne scored with just over five minutes remaining in the frame.  Mark Matthews answered that a minute later with a power play goal to give the Rock a 10-7 lead.  Late in the frame, a major penalty was assessed to Boushy that sent the Bandits to a five-minute power play.  With 42 seconds left, Buffalo scored on the man up to narrow the Rock lead to 10-8 after three quarters.

Buffalo still had time left on the power play and made the best of it scoring on an extended possession to make it a one-goal game and followed that with the tying goal less than three minutes later, making it 10-10.  On the Rock’s next possession, Boushy scored his fourth of the game and was followed just 48 seconds later by Matthews’ second to put the Rock back up by a pair 12-10.  The Bandits made it 12-11, but it was the play that happened next was a huge momentum swing.  The Rock’s Justin Martin was robbed on the crease of a sure goal and Buffalo went the other way to score and tie the game.  Moments later Josh Byrne scored to give Buffalo their first lead since going ahead 6-5 at the end of the first quarter.  The Bandits added an empty netter to seal the scoring, 14-12.

“I don’t know if there’s a specific moment,” said Tom Screiber when asked what turned the game.  “I think you just have to be better all around. It’s not the result we want. We have to learn from it, get better. We’ve got another game next week, so we’ll turn the page, get better from it, for sure.”

On the power play, the Rock went 4-for-8 while the Bandits were 1-for-6 on the man up.  Rose made 40 saves in the loss, while Matt Vinc came up with 48 saves to get the win.

Rose’s 40 saves pushed him past Rock and NLL Hall of Famer Bob Watson for the most career saves by a Rock netminder.

The Rock will return home next Saturday to battle another rival, the Halifax Thunderbirds on MARVEL Super Hero™ Night at FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton.  The first 2,500 fans will receive a MARVEL Legends of Lax comic book.  It’s also the Rock’s annual charity night with the game-worn gear from the game including jerseys, helmets, and shorts will be auctioned off in support of Smilezone Foundation.  The auction begins Tuesday at torontorock.com/auction.

For more information on Toronto Rock tickets, please contact a Toronto Rock account executive by phone at 416-596-3075, by email at tickets@torontorock.com or visit torontorock.com.

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