Rose's Heroics Not Enough in Rock's 9-8 Loss to Thunderbirds
Toronto, ON - The Toronto Rock (6-3) fell just short on Friday night, losing an important North Division battle with the Halifax Thunderbirds (7-2) by the narrowest of margins, 9-8. Nick Rose allowed just two goals in the second half to keep the Rock comeback hopes alive, but his 50-save performance just wasn't enough to propel Toronto to victory on this night.
The Thunderbirds' win evens the season series with the Rock at one game apiece with the third and final meeting of the season back in Halifax on Apr. 25.
Toronto's offence sputtered through a lengthy stretch from just past the midway point of the second quarter to early in the fourth quarter. The goal-less stretch was 25:41.
"Overall we just weren't good enough in a lot of areas tonight to come away with a victory," said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer. "It was a tough night for us offensively and defensively at times, we didn't have the ball too much, they controlled the loose balls and played a lot of offence. It just wasn't our night tonight."
The Rock power play got the scoring started with Dan Craig firing a bullet from the top that beat Halifax goaltender Warren Hill. The Thunderbirds tied the score, but Rob Hellyer and Challen Rogers struck for the Rock to lead 3-1. Late in the frame, Halifax turned the tide on a Cody Jamieson penalty shot goal and a Kyle Jackson tally. The penalty shot was called as a result of Rock defender Bill Ho Strawser playing the ball with his hand in the crease.
The two teams exchanged goals before Halifax took control of the frame. Dan Dawson scored to close the gap to 6-5, but Halifax's Clarke Peterson scored to restore the Thunderbirds' two-goal edge at the half.
Just as time expired and the two teams were leaving the floor for the break, a minor skirmish broke out. Halifax captain Cody Jamieson was assessed a match penalty and was ejected from the game.
Mike Burke's early goal for the Thunderbirds was the only goal of the third quarter, stretching the Halifax lead to 8-5.
After falling behind 9-5, the Rock staged a rally with goals form Hellyer, Johnny Powless and Damon Edwards to make it a one-goal game with 7:22 to play. The Rock had several opportunities to tie the game in the late stages including a power play with 2:26 left.
Rose was once again brilliant in this one, especially in the second half, making 18 saves on 20 shots to allow the Rock a chance to win this one. Overall, Rose finished with 50 saves on 59 Halifax shots.
"The second half was pretty good, but we also put ourselves in that spot having to hold them to two goals in the second half to have a chance to win," said Rose. "We've faced adversity really well all season long and tonight was no different but the clock just ran out on us."
Toronto's power play finished the night 2-for-6, while Halifax went 2-for-5.
The Rock were led offensively once again by a three-goal outing from Hellyer who now leads the NLL with 29 goals. Dawson, Powless, Craig, Rogers and Edwards all scored singles.
The Rock will wrap up their two-game roadie in Saskatchewan against the Rush next Saturday night. Fans can watch the game on Bleacher Report Live at 8:30pm ET.
For more information on Toronto Rock tickets, please contact a Toronto Rock account executive at 416-596-3075 or visit torontorock.com.
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