Jim Veltman scored at 5:50 of the opening period to give the Toronto Rock a lead they never relinquished on their way to a 17-14 victory over the Eastern Division leading Washington Power in front of a Sunday afternoon crowd of 13,802 at the Air Canada Centre.
The Rock kept the strong Washington attack under their thumb throughout the game. The Gait brothers managed only three goals between them, and the Power were able to string together more than a single tally only three times during the game. More often, each Washington goal was answered within two minutes or less by a Toronto score. The usual respondent was Colin Doyle, who finished with six goals and two assists.
Washington's only serious run started with 15 seconds left in the third quarter. Bobby Horsey pulled the Power within three at 13-10. Fourth quarter goals by Josh Sims (1:09) and Matt Shearer (1:39) closed the gap to one. Veltman and Steve Toll restored Toronto's advantage to three, at 15-12, by 8:22, and the two teams traded goals to end the game.
Veltman finished with a hat trick for Toronto, and playmaker Blaine Manning racked up seven assists in addition to a second-quarter goal.
Shearer shouldered the scoring load for Washington, with five tallies. Paul and Gary Gait each came up with four assists, as did Del Halladay and Fred Jenner. Jenner also scored twice.
Goalie Bob Watson came up big for the Rock with 36 saves. Washington starter Devin Dalep stopped 32 before being replaced by Erik Miller, who made 12 saves in the final 22:34 and shouldered the loss.