NLL: Early-afternoon affair sees Rock solidly defeat Wings 14-5

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Tom Schreiber had more points than the Philadelphia Wings did on Saturday afternoon, as he, his seven points, and the Toronto Rock rolled over the Philadelphia Wings 14-5.

“He’s a great player,” recognized head coach Paul Day. “I think it’s time and space. You really need to take time and space away from him and that happens earlier when he doesn’t have the ball. I think that happened in the fourth, when we denied him the ball.”

The game was sold out, with many tickets being purchased by Eagles fans eager to start tailgating for that evening’s NFL playoff game, meaning many fans never actually made it out of the parking lot into the arena.

The first quarter saw both defenses playing solidly, shutting the offense down. Blaze Riorden threw himself across the lane, dumped the ball in the net, and the fans were roaring on their feet for the game’s first goal late in the period. Mitch de Snoo jumped into action with 1:12 left so that Toronto wasn’t shut out in the first quarter.

Toronto rocked Philadelphia in the second quarter. They not only shut the Wings completely down; they also scored seven-straight goals. Three Wings’ defenders let Schreiber dodge right in front of Zach Higgins to score on the jump shot. His second of the period, the Rock’s sixth goal, was a sidearm blast through traffic. Challen Rogers scored twice to end the period with the Rock up 8-1. The Wings threw all sorts of shots at Nick Rose, who was a brick wall.

The third quarter was eerily reminiscent of the second quarter for the Wings. The Rock dumped four more goals in the net, including two more from Schreiber and a pair from Dan Craig. Each scored one on the power play.

The Wings came back to life in the fourth quarter; however, it was too little and way too late. Matt Rambo, Joe Resetarits (2) and Taite Cattoni all found ways to score. However, Schreiber scored his fifth of the game to end a memorable day.

After the game, Cattoni, the team’s newest addition, talked about what it was like coming to Philadelphia. If the press conference was anything like his response, fans are going to love this scrappy player.

“It’s great to play for an organization like this; it’s prestigious,” he said. “You see Tom Marechek in the rafters. It’s very cool. This group is tight. Obviously not the result we wanted today. And lots to clean up.”

Captain Kiel Matisz was disappointed.

“Honestly, every guy has got to kind of pull the rope the same way,” Matisz said. “I thought the D played really well in the first and in the fourth, and then the O kinda came alive. I think it is about being connected. Every guy has to be connected.”

One person he is connected to is his goaltender, Zach Higgins.

“The one true highlight for these first five games has been our goaltending. And, you know, it just sucks for Zach, who doesn’t get to play that full game because… the reality is the guys in front of him did not have a good performance. So I didn’t feel great about that, when that happens. But it’s about being a connected, full group.”

There will be a lot to process and learn from this game.  Philadelphia has a quick turn around as they play Buffalo at home Friday night. Toronto next faces Calgary on the 28th.

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