Buffalo, NY – The Toronto Rock (8-9) defeated the Buffalo Bandits (8-9) by a score of 16-11 on Saturday night at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY. The win keeps the Rock’s playoff hopes alive heading into their regular season finale next weekend in Colorado against the Mammoth.
“It was a game we had to have if we wanted to have any hope of moving on and advancing to the playoffs, but the message to the boys was, just play,” explained Rock head coach Matt Sawyer after the game.
The Bandits had the crowd behind them early with a pair of goals, building a 2-0 lead. The Rock chipped away, first with a transition goal from Challen Rogers, followed by a classic step back and rip finish from Adam Jones to tie the game 2-2. Latrell Harris scored on a breakaway to give the Rock the lead and then Rob Hellyer broke out of his scoring slump, notching a goal for the first time since Mar. 24, giving the Rock a 4-2 lead. Buffalo got one back before the end of the quarter, shaving the Rock lead to one after the first quarter, 4-3.
Toronto’s offence continued to roll early in the second quarter, scoring three times in the opening 3:40. With the Rock up 7-3, the Bandits made a switch in net with Zach Higgins replacing starter Alex Buque. The change may have sparked the Bandits a bit, scoring twice to close to within a pair. Reid Reinholdt scored in transition, firing a shot over the shoulder of Higgins putting the Rock up 8-5. The goal was Reinholdt’s second of the quarter. The three-goal Rock lead quickly became just a goal as the Bandits scored twice in a 44-second span in the final minutes of the half and the Toronto edge was just 8-7 at the break.
The third quarter was all Toronto despite having to endure a five-minute penalty to Latrell Harris that only yielded on power play goal for the Bandits. On the super positive side, the Rock scored twice while shorthanded to come out ahead. A 5-2 quarter gave the Rock a 13-9 lead heading into the final quarter.
The Rock’s Adam Jones scored the first goal of the fourth quarter to give them Rock a four-goal lead, but the Bandits answered with two goals, making it a 13-11 game. Brodie Merrill and Challen Rogers each scored empty net goals to seal the win.
The Rock will wrap up the regular season schedule next Saturday night against the Colorado Mammoth in Denver, CO. Fans can watch the game live on NLLTV.com at 9 p.m. ET.
2018-19 Toronto Rock Season Tickets are on sale now. For more information on Toronto Rock tickets, please visit torontorock.com/tickets or call 416-596-3075.