February 12, 2017 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Toronto Rock
Calgary, AB - The Toronto Rock (4-1) got their motors running in the second quarter and from there, were once again dominant in a 11-7 win over the Calgary Roughnecks (3-3) on Sunday afternoon at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, AB. The hometown Roughnecks staged a late rally but Nick Rose closed the door when it counted making 40 saves for his fourth win of the season.
The Toronto win brings them to within one win of their 2016 season total of five. It was a year in which the team missed the playoffs for the first time after six consecutive berths in the post-season.
"It was real good to come through that, we did face a little bit of adversity in the fourth quarter, but that's the game of lacrosse. A team like that with the firepower they have, they aren't going to stay quiet forever," said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer. "I don't think it was our best game out there as far as execution but that was a real gritty game and great to win on the road."
Rose was unbelievable in the first half, keeping the hometown Roughnecks' dynamic offence in check. His league leading goals-against average is now at 8.40 and 2.80 goals per game better than Saskatchewan's Aaron Bold at 11.20. Rose has a league best save percentage of .809, which is .029 better than Georgia's Mike Poulin.
"Calgary is one of the toughest places in the league to get a win," said Rose after the win over his former club. "They crept back into the game but we just tried to stay calm and focus on the next shift. They made some pretty good plays in the fourth quarter but we stuck with and it worked out."
Both Toronto and Calgary struggled to find the mark in the opening quarter. Toronto's Tom Schreiber scored on the power play 3:34 into the quarter, but it wasn't until almost ten minutes later when Calgary's Curtis Dickson scored at the 12:37 mark to tie the game 1-1.
Schreiber scored his second and Kieran McArdle scored his first, to give the Rock a 3-1 lead, just past the five-minute mark of the second frame. The Roughnecks got another goal from Dickson, but Toronto got goals from Brett Hickey, McArdle and Schreiber, who completed the first half hat trick, to lead 6-2 at the half.
Toronto scored the first two goals of the second half, but it was the team's first goal of the two that will have people talking. 18-year old rookie Latrell Harris fought off the Calgary defender and scored one-handed for the first goal of his NLL career. Harris is the youngest player in the league and continues to impress each and every game out. The Rock carried a 9-4 lead into the fourth quarter.
Stephan Leblanc scored on the Rock's first possession of the fourth quarter, just 22 seconds in, giving the visitors a commanding 10-4 lead. But the league's leading goal scorer wasn't about to mail this one in, as Dickson scored three straight goals for Calgary to bring the Roughnecks to within three-goals at 10-7. With Calgary pressing to close the gap, they pulled the goalie and Toronto's Billy Hostrawser scored into the empty net to round out the scoring.
Schreiber was the high scorer on the day for the Rock with 3 goals and 3 assists for a 6-point game. McArdle and Hickey each scored twice with singles going to Harris, Hostrawser, Leblanc and Turner Evans.
The Rock's next home game will be a battle for top spot overall in the NLL this Friday night, February 17 against the Georgia Swarm at Air Canada Centre. The first 5,000 fans in attendance will receive a limited edition Nick Rose bobblehead courtesy of Bachly Construction. For tickets, please call 416-596-3075 or visit torontorock.com.