It’ll be hard for the Toronto Rock to top this weekend.
Right off the heels of a dramatic 12-11 OT win over the Georgia Swarm Friday night, the Rock returned home to the Air Canada Centre and picked up their second win of the weekend 13-7 over the Vancouver Stealth.
The wins put the Rock just half a game back of the Swarm for first place in the east division. The Rock have five games left while the Swarm have six.
“We were good in all areas and the final score was deserving,” said head coach Matt Sawyer.
The weekend culminated with one of the most exciting plays in lacrosse – the goalie goal. Nick Rose scored his second of the season and third of his career to cap Saturday’s win.
“Goals are pretty cool,” Rose smiled after the game, while admitting that he probably shouldn’t have taken this particular shot. “I launched ‘er down and their guy actually was there in plenty of time but he fumbled the ball and I was lucky to get it to drop in the net.”
At that point in the game the Rock were up 12-7 and there was only 1:05 remaining. It would have been hard for the Stealth to score five in that time but with so much on the line at this point it’s prudent to be cautious.
“Don’t shoot it,” Sawyer cringed when asked what he was thinking when Rose made the play. “Rosey’s Rosey. You have to give him that one. He was locked in there tonight, you can usually tell early in the game when he is, and our defense did a great job dictating where the shots came from.”
Rose has more goals than Rock defenders Sandy Chapman, Billy Hostrawser, Brad Kri and Jeff Gilbert.
“Honestly we were a little upset that he threw it as we were trying to kill the clock, but once it went in all bets were off and we were all happy for him,” Reid Reinholdt chuckled.
Reinholdt had a great weekend too. The rookie scored four goals including both the game equalizer and winner on Friday. He’s managed to stay on the active roster when some fellow rookies have been going up and down. He’s scored ten goals and ten assists so far this season.
“At this level the game is a lot faster and you have to protect your own end which I had a few problems to begin with,” Reinholdt said. “Those 50/50 balls at centre I would go for rather than protecting my own end so that’s something I needed to fix in my game. Getting used to momentum changes and TV timeouts are big differences.”
Also helping the Rock were losses by the New England Black Wolves and Buffalo Bandits; both teams very much in the hunt for the playoffs. There’s a lot of parity between the top four teams in the east right now.
“Getting out of here with four points takes a little pressure off our backs and we can play more comfortable, relaxed and calm out there,” said Reinholdt.
You might think after an emotional OT win the night before, the Rock would be tired. They only arrived back from Georgia six hours before the game. That wasn’t the case, though. The Stealth took an early 1-0 lead but then allowed a six goal run from the Rock, who never looked back.
“When it comes to the second game, your stick’s already fresh, you’re loose, and you don’t have to go through all the morning prep,” Reinholdt said. “Even with the flight everyone just felt super loose out there and we were ready to go.”
Dan Lintner had a hat-trick for the Rock. Brett Hickey, Stephan Leblanc and Reinholdt had two goals each. Tom Schreiber, Turner Evans, Kasey Beirns and Rose also scored. Rose also stopped 46 shots on 53 attempts.
Jordan Durston and Rhys Duch had two goals each for the Stealth. Corey Small, Justin Salt and James Rahe had singles. Tye Belanger made 42 saves on 54 shots.
The Rock are on the road next weekend for the back half of their home-and-home with Vancouver Friday and then in New England Sunday.
Like I said, it’ll be hard for the Toronto Rock to top this weekend – but they’ll sure as heck try.