NLL: BlackWolves howl in Toronto

Joe Resetarits (15) and Stephan Leblanc (86) rush in to celebrate with Andrew Kew on his first NLL goal. New England BlackWolves @ Toronto Rock, December 7, 2019. (Photo credit: Anna Taylor)

Saturday night the New England BlackWolves (1-0) opened their 2019-20 season with a resounding 12-8 win over the host Toronto Rock (0-1) in front of 7,158 fans at Scotiabank Arena.

Toronto jumped out to a quick start as Dan Dawson and Dan Craig scored goals in the opening 1:09 of the contest, but the lead didn’t last long as the New England defense tightened up which led to Joe Resetarits cutting the lead in half on the power play at the four-minute mark. Tony Malcom would tie the game at 8:59 and the Rock lead would be no more.

“We had a good start tonight, but we were quick to give them momentum after that,” said Rock head coach Matt Sawyer. “We just made too many mistakes throughout the night. We shot ourselves in the foot with some bad penalties and some missed assignments and weren’t able to capitalize on that good start.”

New England finally jumped ahead and stayed there as Resetarits and Durston scored 33 seconds apart to double their lead to 4-2. Johnny Powless would score the final goal of the quarter and the Rock would only trail by one.

New England would jump to a four-goal lead as Callum Crawford, Colton Watkinson and Durston would all find the back of the net within 1:51, but the Rock would respond in the same fashion as Rob Hellyer, Dawson and Challen Rogers, with his first transition goal of the year, would score in 1:39. Dawson’s goal was his second of the night in his Toronto debut and though he enjoyed his experience, he wanted the win.

“We didn’t play a smart game tonight,” he said. “They outworked us, they executed better than us and that leads to a loss.”

New England would take an 8-6 lead into the half after Leblanc scored against his old team in the final 2:26.

Toronto came out strong in the third as Powless and Jones would score to tie the game, but it would be third overall pick Andrew Kew who would fire a shot that would beat Rose low left side on the power play for the first of his career. It was the eventual game winner as Crawford scored twice more for his hat trick and a 11-8 lead. Nick Chaykowsky added an empty net goal to complete the scoring and give the BlackWolves a 12-8 victory.

New England’s defense was stellar in the second half as Doug Jamieson only allowed two goals and shut the Rock offense down for the final 24:05 of playing time.

Jamieson stopped 46 of 54 shots for the win. Callum Crawford (3G/4A, +5) and Joe Resetarits (2G/3A, +4) led the New England offense. The rookie Kew (1G/3A, 5LB, +5) had a very solid game.

Dan Dawson and Johnny Powless each scored twice for the Rock.

New England was 3 for 7 on the man advantage while scoring a short-handed goal as well. Toronto was 2 for 6.

Both teams are back in action Saturday. New England will travel to Saskatchewan for an 8:30 p.m. start, while Toronto will travel to San Diego for the first time for a 10 p.m. matchup versus the Seals.