NLL: Rock set record in blowout win over Stealth

Logan Schuss. (Photo credit: Garrett James)

The Toronto Rock set an NLL record on Saturday night in a 24-7 walloping of the Vancouver Stealth at the Langley Events Centre. The Rock set a new record for goals in a half, with 17 in the first 30 minutes of play.

The Rock (1-2) looked to use the same firepower they found last week in their 20-13 defeat of the Buffalo Bandits. The 0-3 Stealth would have to throw everything, including the kitchen sink, at the Rock if they wanted to put one in the win column without going down four losses in a row.

Nick Rose started for the Rock, but a new face was seated at the end of the bench – the 30th overall pick in the 2017 NLL entry draft, Riley Hutchcraft, a graduate of the Jr. A Mimico Mountaineers.

The first quarter came and went with an overpowering presence from the Rock offense who put up a whopping 10 goals in 15 minutes. Tom Schreiber put the Rock up 1-0 just 49 seconds in, the first time they have scored first this season.

Moments later, Brett Hickey, Sheldon Burns and Kieran McArdle chased Stealth goalie Brodie MacDonald from the net as he allowed four goals on just a handful of shots. The goalie swap did no good as Rob Hellyer, Schreiber, Dan Craig and Adam Jones made it 8-0 with six and a half minutes left in the quarter.

The Rock ended the first up 10 goals on just 21 shots which gave the combined Stealth goalies an abysmal save percentage of .470.

Nothing changed in the second quarter as the Rock continued to relentlessly pepper Tye Belanger. Brett Hickey gave the Rock an 11-0 lead capitalizing on a power play opportunity.  Good bounces continued to go the Rock’s way as a gigantic save by Rose fueled more momentum for the blue and red.

The Stealth finally found their way onto the scoresheet nearly 20 minutes into the game as Peter McFetridge found the back of the net. The Rock added six more amidst a penalty-filled period that featured three fights: Brodie Merrill vs. Cliff Smith, Brock Sorensen vs. Joel McCready and Billy Hostrawser vs. Andrew Suitor. Merrill, Smith, McCready and Suitor were all ejected from the game.

The Rock led 20-1 in the third before the Stealth got on a bit of a run with Ryan Fournier, Logan Schuss, Corey Small and Evan Messenger scoring in succession to bring them within 15. Brad Kri also fought Ian Hawksbee.

With the Rock up 20-5, Riley Hutchcraft made his first NLL appearance, starting the fourth quarter in relief of Nick Rose. He soon felt what it was like to be an NLL goaltender as the Stealth popped two by the rookie.

Toronto had no reason to slow down going up 23 goals with 4 minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Vancouver found themselves in penalty trouble in the remaining minutes as frustration form the one sided score lead to the Rock keeping possession for three straight minutes as the game ended with a goal from none other than the man who started it, Tom Schreiber

This was a statement game for both clubs. The Rock showed that they were only facing some early-season jitters and that they are here to make a run for the title. The Stealth, on the other hand, showed their cards and know now they have a lot of work to be done. Goaltending by the Rock was solid. The Rock will need a replacement for Brandon Miller possibly sooner rather than later Riley Hutchcraft seems to fit the mold of a Toronto Rock goalie. The GTA native looked stellar in his appearance, combining with Rose for 37 saves.

Schreiber (5G/7A) and Hellyer (3G/9A) each had 12 points. Adam Jones (4G/6A) had 10, and Kieran McArdle (3G/6A) had nine. Rookie Dan Craig, who was featured on ILWT this week, had three goals and two assists.

The previous record for most goals in a half was held by the Montreal Express who put up 16 back on November 24th, 2001 en route to a 32-17 win over the Calgary Roughnecks.

The Rock improve to 2-2 with the win while the Stealth fall to 0-4 – last place not only in the west, but in the league.

Vancouver will travel to Buffalo and try to redeem themselves from this overpowering loss on January 13th while the Rock will find themselves back in the comfy confines of the ACC as they host the Rochester Knighthawks on January 12th.