ROCK DROP TOUGH OVERTIME LOSS TO MAMMOTH
St. Patrick’s Day had the Rock playing host to the West Division leaders, the Colorado Mammoth and Toronto was looking to bounce back after losing the previous night to the Edmonton Rush. The Mammoth, 2006 NLL Champions, were making their only stop in Toronto this season and were looking to add to their West leading record. The Rock would give up five goal halftime lead to lose in an overtime heartbreaker 13-12.
With energy high and a boisterous crowd of 15,614, the Mammoth showed that they were here to play. They were quick to quiet the ACC faithful by scoring the first goal on an early power play opportunity. Despite the Rock’s defense, the Mammoth scored the next two goals to extend their early lead to three. Toronto would finally get on the board during a power play on a set up by captain Jim Veltman to a streaking Josh Sanderson. Colorado would answer back with a quick score by Brian Langtry to put them back up by three. The Rock came storming back late in the period putting two goals past the Colorado goalie Gee Nash. The first by Ryan Benesch and Bryan Riddell scoring his first goal in a Toronto uniform on a break away just seconds later. The first quarter would end with the Rock down by a goal, 4-3.
The Rock took control of the second quarter and scored two early back to back goals by Aaron Wilson. The Rock extended their lead to 6-4 on a Blaine Manning shot that found its target through traffic midway through the second. Toronto defense would settle in through the quarter and smother the Mammoth holding them to only 10 shots on goal. Langtry would score his third of the game trying to bring the Mammoth back but Ryan Benesch would score his second of the game with under a minute in the second stretching the Rock lead again heading into the half at 7-5.
The Rock looked like they would be routing Colorado in the third and scored first on a great effort by the Benesch. The lead widened to 10-5 on goals by Aaron Wilson and Blaine Manning. The Mammoth would finally end an over 18 minute scoring drought late in the third by scoring three goals on the ensuing power play cutting the lead to two. The Rock defense would still hold up despite being down a man for much of the last six minutes of the third quarter and lead Colorado 10-8 heading into the final period.
Colorado would close the scoring gap narrowing the lead to one before tying the game on a shot from Gavin Prout midway through and the last five minutes of the period is where the real game seemed to begin. The action was fast, furious and physical with both teams having multiple scoring opportunities. Colorado would tie the game on a lucky shot that bounced off the top of the net and off Mike Poulin’s back at the 13:11 mark. Both teams would fail to score in the final two crazy minutes sending the game into overtime at 12-12.
The extra period would prove to be just as exciting as the fourth. Both teams were coming out at full speed attacking the nets and the Rock had a few good looks early with some narrowly missing their marks. The over time period was furious with Toronto giving it everything they had but the Mammoth would not be denied the win putting away the game winner by Dan Carey at the 4:44 mark to win 13-12.
Ryan Benesch was the leading scorer for Toronto accounting for four goals and three assists while Josh Sanderson added one goal and four assists. Aaron Wilson added a hat trick and Veltman had a three assists and 12 loose balls.
The Mammoth were lead in scoring by Gavin Prout who had three goals and four assists followed by Brian Langtry who had a game high five goals.
In his first start in net this season, Mike Poulin played an excellent game between the pipes. He was responsible for keeping the Rock in the game late by stopping some seemingly sure goals late in the fourth quarter. He would record 41 saves for the game taking the tough overtime loss.
The Rock (4-7) will look to snap their two game losing streak on Friday March 24th when they play Minnesota Swarm on the road at the Xcel Energy Center. Game time will at 11:30 p.m. EST.