Rock Holds off Mammoth Late Charge
Denver, CO - The Toronto Rock (3-1) held on to defeat the Colorado Mammoth (0-3) by a score of 11-10 on Saturday night at Pepsi Center in Denver, CO. The Rock win was just the second all-time in six visits to the Mile High City.
The Rock have now played three consecutive one-goal games and have come out on the right side of two them. The wins are important, but equally as pivotal is the confidence the team is building through having success in outcome deciding situations late in games.
"That's the reality of this league, games are often tied late or one team is up by a goal, so you need to be able to learn from these experiences," said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer who earned his 20th career win as Toronto bench boss. "This is a big win for us. This has historically been a tough place for this team to get a win. We knew we would get their best and we were able to persevere and get our third win of the season."
Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward was all that stood between the Rock and a much larger early lead. Even with Ward's stellar early play, the Rock earned a 3-1 lead through one quarter.
"We had a lot of opportunities but Dillon Ward was very good. We felt like we were carrying the play, but we weren't getting rewarded," said Sawyer. "We could have got discouraged, but there was no panic from our group and eventually some balls started dropping."
The Rock scored three in a row to get up 3-1 in the first and Brock Sorensen made it four straight goals early in the second quarter. The big defender forced a turnover at centre and then stretched the floor while teammate Latrell Harris picked up the loose ball and found Sorensen all alone, streaking to the net and converting the chance. The Mammoth scored four of the next five goals to tie the score 5-5 at the half.
The third quarter was about as even as you can get. Both teams scored twice and both goalies made 10 saves.
Colorado appeared to seize the momentum early in the fourth quarter, going up 8-7. Just over a minute later, the Rock got the first of three straight as Rob Hellyer, Tom Schreiber and Dan Craig wrestled that momentum away and put Toronto up 10-8. Hellyer's third made the score 11-9 Toronto, but Mammoth forward Jacob Ruest's third goal of the game closed the gap to 11-10 with 2:07 to go.
With the Mammoth net empty and an extra attacker on the floor, Nick Rose slammed the door shut and preserved the 11-10 win, making several key saves in the final minute. Rose finished the game with 32 saves. Ward was much busier at the other end, making 57 saves in the Colorado goal.
Hellyer led all Rock goal scorers with a hat trick. Jones finished with a pair, while Creighton Reid, Kieran McArdle, Johnny Powless, Schreiber, Craig and Sorensen all scored once. The Rock were 1 for 3 with the man advantage and the Mammoth scored on both of their power play chances.
The Rock will return home to face the East Division leading Georgia Swarm (4-0) on Fri., Jan. 18 at Scotiabank Arena.
2018-19 Toronto Rock Single Game, Pro-Rated Season Tickets and Season Passes along with the new 4 Game Pack and 6 Ticket Flex Pack are on sale now. To purchase or for more information, please visit torontorock.com or call 416-596-3075.
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National Lacrosse League Stories from January 13, 2019
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