NLL: Rock clinch third with win over Black Wolves

The Toronto Rock’s home floor one-goal-winning games have come to be the norm, and Friday night was no exception as the 11-6 club took down the 8-8 New England Black Wolves 13-12 at Scotiabank Arena.

The win solidifies at least third place for the Rock, who still have their sights set on a home playoff date.

Eight times this season Toronto has been on either the winning of losing side of a one-goal game. Lucky for the Rock, Saturday night’s game sided with them.

“You’re always wanting more and maybe wanting a bit of separation but maybe that’s what we are,” said head coach, Matt Sawyer on his team’s run-in with one-goal games this season.

After they retired Jim “Scoop” Veltman’s #32, the Rock got down to business.

Kicking off the game’s festivities with a barrage of goals in the first quarter – which is now not big news as the Rock have been prolific scorers in the opening minutes – the team led 3-1 halfway through the side.

If the game’s final score was any indication of how close this game was, New England would not go away this entire game as they roared back with three goals of their own before the time expired in the quarter knotting this game up at four.

And faring well in close helped the Rock in the second quarter as they stared down a one-goal difference while the Black Wolves scored three goals to the Rock’s two, putting the Rock down 7-6 at the break.

Toronto came out firing in the third quarter, crumbling the Black Wolves’ lead in a matter of minutes. Dan Craig, Rob Hellyer and Tom Schreiber all scored in the span of a minute to put the Rock up 9-7. Johnny Powless added a goal and Schreiber added a second goal. With the Rock’s core getting hot, the Black Wolves found themselves down 11-10 after three.

That lead served the Rock well as a pair of goals from a pair of Dans (both Lintner and Craig) beat Jamieson to give them 13 goals in the fourth.

Putting the pressure on in the final minutes, New England stuck two more past Nick Rose but it would not be enough as the Rock came away with this one 13-12.

“I feel like at times, we kind of shot ourselves in the foot; one step forward two steps back. But we sure put together a good fourth quarter and the offence was real good in the second half,” Sawyer noted on his team’s play.

The Rock will now enjoy the fruits of their labour as a much-needed bye week welcomes them. Using this time to heal the bumps and bruises, they tangle with the Warriors for the last game of the season before playoff lacrosse – they hope – is welcomed to Toronto.