The Toronto Rock looked down and out through 45 minutes on Friday night, but a strong push in the final quarter saw them pull out a 13-12 victory over the Philadelphia Wings.
Toronto couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start, however, as Philadelphia got goals from Matt Rambo, Josh Currier, Kiel Matisz, and Vaughn Harris in the first four minutes of play. Adam Jones would halt the run, but the Rock would find themselves down 5-1 after the first quarter.
The Rock would win the second frame. They went on a run, with goals from Jones, Johnny Powless, and Dan Lintner.
One of the standout highlights over that stretch was a fight between Bill Hostrawser and Chet Koneczny.
The Wings would pot two goals of their own to carry an 8-4 advantage into the break.
Philadelphia matched its goal total from the first meeting against the Rock in the third quarter when Kevin Crowley potted his third of the night to give the Wings a 10-6 lead. They would take that lead into the fourth frame.
“We’ll take the win, we’re not going to give that one back,” Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer said postgame. “They came out and dominated us in every area. It’s a good lesson for us, we need to prepare better and be more committed than we were in the first 45 (minutes).”
Toronto had a Wings-esque opening to the final frame, scoring five straight goals in the first 6:22. That stretch saw two goals apiece from Tom Schreiber and Rob Hellyer, as well as a transition goal from faceoff man Jay Thorimbert. The teams would exchange a pair of goals before Hellyer would nab the game-winner – and his third goal of the night – with just under three minutes to go.
Hellyer (3 G, 4 A), Schreiber (2 G, 4 A), and Jones (3 G, 2 A) led the way for the Rock. Jones also netted his 50th goal as a member of the Rock in this contest. Dan Lintner (3 G, 2 A) contributed with another strong performance.
“We’ve got a great team in there with a bunch of guys who have bought in,” Lintner said. “We’ve had a few close games, but you put us in a situation like that and we’re not going to give up at all. Whether we’re down five or down one, we’re going to play as hard as we can.”
For the Wings, Kevin Crowley (4 G, 6 A) and captain Kiel Matisz (3 G, 4 A) were the offensive catalysts.
Rock goaltender Nick Rose had a tough start to the game but settled into a nice groove the rest of the way, stopping 40 shots in his 150th career NLL game.
At the other end, Wings starter Doug Buchan made 33 saves on the night.
Trevor Baptiste won the faceoff battle once again. The rookie continued his dominant season by going 17-for-28 in the circle.
With the victory, the Rock move to 5-1 on the season and sit atop the league standings. They’ll return home on Friday for a showdown with the defending champion Saskatchewan Rush.