After a disappointing loss in Buffalo last weekend, the Toronto Rock (1-1) will look for their first road win Saturday as they travel to Rochester to take on the two time defending league champion Knighthawks (2-0) at Blue Cross Arena. The Knighthawks haven’t beaten the Rock in a January game since January 30th of 2010, exactly a week after Toronto handed Rochester their worst loss in franchise history in a 17-3 pounding.
Look for Garrett Billings to be in on most of Toronto’s goals Saturday night as he has had the hot hand against Rochester in past. Billings has averaged almost seven points per game against the Knighthawks in his career, accumulating 36 goals and 58 assists in 14 games. Billings leads the Rock this season with one goal and 13 assists in two games.
Besides Billings, the Rock will look to the usual suspects to provide them with offense. Captain Colin Doyle (5 G, 4 A), Stephan Leblanc (8 G, 3 A), Kasey Beirnes (2 G, 3 A) and veteran leader Josh Sanderson (2 G, 8 A) have been responsible for 65 per cent of Toronto’s goals this season while Rob Hellyer (4 G, 3 A) is on pace to shatter his 2011 career high total of 14 points (4 G, 10 A).
Rochester’s Self brothers, Scott and Brad, could cause some problems for the Rock’s offense as both men looked very impressive in the Knighthawks first two games. Both brothers look to be in midseason form and younger brother Brad has shown early on that he is still (arguably) the fastest player in the National Lacrosse League.
Just like in every lacrosse game, goaltending could be an issue in this one. Rock goalie Nick Rose always seems to play great against Rochester while Knighthawks’ Matt Vinc has been mediocre at best against Toronto. Vinc is 2-9 lifetime against the Rock and he is 1-4 when going head-to-head with Rose. Look for both teams to shoot early and often to try and rattle the cage to get these tenders off their game.
This East Division rivalry game is one of the most anticipated games of the NLL’s jammed packed Week 4 and fans should be treated to a playoff style battle from these two stacked rosters; anything else will be a let down.
Game time is 7:30 pm and can be seen live on the Lacrosse Network through their YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/lacrossenetwork