January 21, 2011

Rock Beats Blazers in Batlle of Unbeatens

from press release

TORONTO – One team had to leave the rink with its first loss of the season, and the local fans went home happym as Toronto's Stephan Leblanc scored his fifth goal of the game at the 8:56 mark of overtime to give the Rock a 15-14 victory over the Boston Blazers.

Boston and Toronto certainly showed the 9,104 in attendance why they were the last two undefeated teams in the NLL entering the weekend.

The Rock could not shake the Blazers in the first half, as Boston was there with an answer each time the Rock looked as though they were going to put some distance between itself and the visitors.

The Rock power play finally got on the board in the second quarter late to go up 7-5. Toronto had only been on the power play four times through its first two games of the season. Edmonton is now the only team in the league which has yet to score on the power play.

The two teams exchanged goals, and the Rock was able to maintain its two-goal edge, up 8-6 at the half.

The Rock surrendered a third-quarter goal for the first time this season. In the first half of the third quarter, it looked like business as usual, as Toronto scored twice to build a 10-6 lead.

However, true to form, Boston answered back with a pair of its own to shave the deficit to 10-8.

Blaine Manning restored a bit of a cushion for the Rock with an incredible one-handed effort to increase the Toronto lead to 11-8 late in the third quarter.

The three-goal lead disappeared as the fourth quarter wore on. Boston scored three straight before Toronto responded to go up 12-11.

Aaron Pascas scored for the third straight game to increase the lead to 13-11 with less than five minutes remaining. Colin Doyle scored to make it 14-12, but the Blazers got a long distance goal from Kevin Buchanan with less than a minute left to make it 14-13. Buchanan finished the night with five goals.

Casey Powell got his fifth goal of the night to tie the game 14-14. Powell also had four assists to finish with nine points. Dan Dawson also put up nine points for the Blazers on the strength of two goals and seven assists.

"We weren't working hard enough to fight through the screen and do what we need to do," said Rock head coach Troy Cordingley. "They were getting uncontested shots."

Overtime was breathtaking. It wasn't the prettiest way to end a great game, but Leblanc's fifth goal of the game deflected off a body and into the net to seal the 15-14 win for Toronto.

"I got lucky on a couple of them," Leblanc said, speaking about a couple of his five tallies on the night. "You have to give credit to Aaron [Pascas] and Colin [Doyle] for bumping bodies all night, and it was just my turn to put them in the net tonight."

There won't be much time to enjoy the win, as the Rock will head to Buffalo this evening to prepare for Saturday night's matchup with the Bandits at 7:30 p.m. at HSBC Arena.

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