ROCK SHOW HEART IN TOUGH LOSS TO KNIGHTHAWKS
After almost missing the play offs for the first time in team history, the Rock traveled to the Blue Cross Arena looking to make something out of nothing. Playing through a year that saw some key personnel changes and inconsistent play, Toronto managed to make the post season to face off against the first place Rochester Knighthawks. Looking for redemption for the two losses they had received against the Knighthawks earlier in the season, the Rock were looking to play giant killer against the team with the best record this year.
The first quarter was completely controlled by the Knighthawks. Rochester would capitalize on early Toronto penalties and some turnovers scoring three goals on 17 shots. Toronto gave up two power play goals conversely not being able to convert on the four early chances they had. But the Rochester dominance would end midway through the second quarter. Toronto would stand strong against the Knighthawks during a five on three penalty situation half way through the period to begin a momentum switch that would see the Rock’s energy level and intensity rise. After being bullied for most of the game, Toronto would rattle off four goals on eight shots in the period after being held scoreless. Using their great passing and transition offense, the Rock were led by rookie Ryan Benesch who scored two. On the opposite end, they would dig their heels in on defense allowing only one goal on the Knighthawks’ 15 shots making sure that their physical presence was felt. The halftime score was five to four for Rochester.
Toronto was on the attack continually probing the Knighthawk defense coming up with some great scoring chances only to be stonewalled by Rochester’s Pat O’Toole in the second half. The final period looked to be the makings of a route by the Knighthawks but the Rock would not roll over. With the season on the line, Toronto clawed back to score two straight power play goals by Ryan Benesch and Blaine Manning rockets to cut the Rochester lead to one goal midway through the quarter. The Toronto defense would play equally well to hold the Knighthawks scoreless in the period until John Grant scored the back breaker at the 9:56 mark making the score eight to six. With time now against them, the Rock put up a great effort in the final five minutes of the game but the Knighthawks would not be denied tonight. The Knighthawks scored two more goals on empty nets after Toronto pulled Watson in the final minutes to end the game resulting in a score of 10-6 .
The Rock’s offense, despite the slow start, had a great showing. Toronto was lead by Ryan Benesch and Aaron Wilson who both tallied three points, on three goals and three assists respectively. Bob Watson would record the loss despite his 52 saves on a valiant effort.
The Rock comeback fell short only because of time and not heart. Thank you all Rock fans for your continued support for the team throughout our season.