NLL: More domination for Rock in 17-9 win

Dan Craig of the Toronto Rock looks for a loose ball against Angus Goodleaf and Brad Gillies of the Rochester Knighthawks. (Photo credit: Anna Taylor)

Is scoring an insane amount of goals the new normal for the Toronto Rock?

They sure hope so.

The Rock defeated the Rochester Knighthawks 17-9 on Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre in their third consecutive win, and third consecutive game scoring over 15 goals after  beating the Bandits 20-13 and the Stealth 24-7.

The Knighthawks came into the game after failing 14-11 in Georgia’s banner-raising home opener after a hellish travel weekend.

Despite the frigid and icy weather outside the ACC, the Rock came out on fire in the first quarter and stuck to their theme of chasing opposing goaltenders. ‘Hawks head coach Mike Hasen lifted Matt Vinc from the net after just 13:09 and five goals.

The first quarter opened up with some back-to-back scoring for a 2-2 tie at the 7:26 mark, but moments later, goals from Toronto’s Dan Craig, Reid Reinholdt and Brett Hickey put the Rock up 5-2. Angus Goodleaf replaced Vinc after he made 12 saves, with some help from his posts.

Sheldon Burns scored 33 seconds into the second and Phil Caputo, with his first of the season, put the Rock up 7-2 at 2:24.

The Knighthawks did their best to let some air out of the Rock’s tires as Cory Vitarelli, Austin Shanks and Dan Dawson scored in succession. The goal was the fir

Dylan Evans of the Rochester Knighthawks faces off against Bradley Kri of the Toronto Rock. (Photo credit: Anna Taylor)

st of Shanks’ career. Dawson’s goal came after a huge cross-crease save by Nick Rose, who stuck the mesh of his stick out to take away the top right corner on the power play. But as the ball went down to the Knighthawks zone, they capitalized on a turnover.

Adam Jones and Tom Schreiber, who fooled Goodleaf with a twister from the right face-off dot, restored the Rock’s lead 9-5 at the half.

Early third-quarter goals from Challen Rogers and Schreiber put the Rock up 11-5. Kyle Jackson paused the hailstorm of goals briefly but Damon Edwards, and Schreiber, with his hat-trick goal, made it 13-6. Later, with McArdle in the box, Shanks scored his second of the night only for Jones to answer the bell, popping another one past Goodleaf for a 14-7 lead.

Cody Jamieson responded to Rob Hellyer’s goal early in the fourth quarter. Rochester pulled Goodleaf with six minutes to go, but it backfired when Sheldon Burns outran Goodleaf back to the crease and buried the ball in the empty cage. Schreiber then scored his fourth of the night shorthanded at 10:55. Jackson scored his second on a power play at 11:08 but the Knighthawks could muster no more.

Schreiber’s four goals made him a heavy presence in Rochester’s zone all game long. He has been one of the many weapons that have been clicking since the Rock’s slow start.

After the slow start to the season, I think we’re really stressing to play desperate…play like our backs are against the wall. We’re hoping to keep that intensity going.” he said.

After making the transition from field to box he has been settling in quite nicely with the Rock.

Billy Hostrawser of the Toronto Rock defends against the Rochester Knighthawks’s Joe Resetarits. (Photo credit: Anna Taylor)

“That’s been my approach to box lacrosse something that has been interesting to me in my lacrosse career is picking up something new at 25 years old and that’s why I was able to figure it out a little quicker.”

The Rock win was a total team effort as Nick Rose posted a total of 38 saves on 47 shots while Vinc and Goodleaf combined for 49 saves on 66 shots.

“We’re happy with what we did tonight but it’s a new game in two weeks,” Schreiber said. “We’d like to mimic it every time but if we win 6-5 and we did our jobs and the defense played great, we’ll take that too.”

The Rock will remain home in Toronto for another week as they welcome the New England Black Wolves into town on January 27th at the ACC as they look to keep their winning streak going. The Knighthawks faced a quick turn-around and picked up their second loss of the weekend to those same Black Wolves 9-8 on Saturday night at Blue Cross Arena.