The Toronto Rock’s 13 goal run Friday night paced them to a 16-4 win over the Minnesota Swarm on Friday night at the hive in Saint Paul. The win puts the Rock solidly in first place in the East, while the Swarm drop to third.
The Swarm led 2-0, and then 3-2, before the Rock pulled ahead early in the second quarter. They were like a steam engine with no brakes, and fired shot after shot at both Zack Higgins and Brodie MacDonald, who each had two turns in the Swarm net. Logan Schuss finally put a stop to the locomotive in the third quarter, scoring the Swarm’s first goal in over a quarter and halting Toronto’s energy.
Stephan Leblanc led the charge for Toronto, picking up four goals and five assists. Brett Hickey and Kasey Beirnes scored hat tricks. Rob Hellyer and Kevin Ross each had a goal and three assists. Brandon Miller was stellar in goal, allowing a career low goals against. Miller has been the Rock’s number one goaltender this year, starting every game but one.
Schuss, Shayne Jackson, and Callum Crawford all had a goal and assist for Minnesota. The Swarm’s other goal was tallied by Dean Hill. Higgins began the game but was pulled in favour of Brodie MacDonald when the score hit 7-3 after Toronto went on a five goal run midway through the second. MacDonald let in a rebound from the first shot he faced, and was just as unsteady as Higgins and let in four goals in just over four minutes, prompting Swarm coach Joe Sullivan to return to Higgins. MacDonald replaced Higgins again in the third quarter at 15-3. MacDonald was able to settle down in goal and only allowed one more Toronto goal.
The Rock’s run was the NLL’s longest since Calgary scored 15 goals in the 2009 playoffs, and the longest regular season run since Colorado scored 14 in 2008. Momentum swings are common in lacrosse, but rarely are runs as long as this seen, which is a treat for the fans (those cheering for Toronto, anyway). A total of 104 shots were fired between the two teams.
The most breathtaking goal of the night was Brock Sorensen’s first quarter marker that tied the game at two. Sorensen, traded to Toronto from Minnesota in the offseason, picked up the ball in his own end, ran down the floor three on two and put the ball past Higgins on a behind the back shot.
Swarm captain Andrew Suitor said the loss was “unacceptable” in a post-game interview, and that the team would do better next game for the fans.
Toronto and Minnesota play again Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre at 7:00 pm EST.