Rock Get to Five Wins, Beat Bandits

The Toronto Rock (5-1) retained their position at first in the Eastern Division standings with a 14-12 road win versus the Buffalo Bandits (3-2).

After the Bandits got out to an early advantage, the Rock took over establishing a 7-2 lead halfway through the second quarter.

However, Toronto would see this margin diminish before the end of the quarter, when a three goal Buffalo rally saw the score sitting at 7-5 heading into halftime.

The Bandits continued the momentum from their late first half scoring spree into the third quarter, tying the game at 7-7. Toronto would respond with two goals in an 1:22 span to regain the lead at 9-7, ending the frame with a 9-8 lead.

Despite a hard fought fourth quarter that saw Mark Steenhuis score an incredible marker after getting his helmet knocked off by Rock defender Damon Edwards (which resulted in Edwards receiving a 5 minute major and match penalty), the Bandits could not conclude a comeback effort.

Captain Colin Doyle led the Rock to victory with 8 points. Popeye’s 4 goal effort featured  a hat-trick in the fourth quarter that included two shorthanded goals and the eventual game winner.

Garrett Billings trailed closely behind Doyle with a 7 point performance. Billings’ powerplay tally with just over seven minutes remaining in the game put the score out of reach for the Bandits. The Rock sniper currently tops all NLL scorers with 36 points on the season.

Shawn Williams continued to his impressive year with a 1 goal and 4 assist performance. Williams is first on the Bandits in scoring with 26 points. Mark Steenhuis stood out for the Bandits with 3 goals and 1 assist in the game. Aaron Wilson mirrored Steenhuis’ numbers, with Wilson’s hat-trick coming in the second quarter during Buffalo’s initial comeback effort.

Rock goalie Nick Rose made 45 saves during the win and remains atop all NLL netminders in both wins, goals against average and saves. Bandits tender Anthony Cosmo stopped 32 of 46 shots in the losing effort.

Buffalo was without the services of captain John Tavares who sat out the game due to a calf injury.

The Toronto Rock will travel to Minnesota Friday, February 8th to face the Swarm, while the Bandits will host the Rochester Knighthawks Saturday, February 9th.

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