The Toronto Rock hoped the acquisition of goaltender Nick Rose earlier in the week would jumpstart their season.
It appears he did just that.
With Rose making his debut, the Rock snapped a three-game losing streak by rolling to a 13-7 win over the Rochester Knighthawks on Saturday night at the Blue Cross Arena.
Rose, who was acquired from Calgary on Monday to replace released All-Star Matt Roik, made 28 saves on 35 shots. He shut out Rochester in the second quarter after allowing just one goal in the first.
“At the start of the game, I was a little nervous, first start [with the Rock]. As the game started and went on, got the nerves out, and just kind of had to focus on the next shot basically. It was obviously pretty fun,” said Rose.
Consider Rose’s new head coach impressed.
“When we broke down, he made some big saves,” said Toronto’s Troy Cordingley. “It seemed that obviously we played with a lot more intensity and that in front of him. He was good, he was real good the whole night.”
The Rock scored eight unanswered goals in the second and third quarters, sparked by back-to-back goals from Brenden Thenhaus at the start of the second quarter. Toronto outshot Rochester 55-35 for the game and scored four power-play goals while the Knighthawks had none.
The loss was Rochester’s eighth straight to Toronto.
“We weren’t here mentally, emotionally, physically. They came out, played their game, and wanted to win. We just happened to be here tonight,” said Rochester head coach Mike Hasen. “Tonight, we had 20 individuals doing their own thing.”
Toronto’s leading scorer Garrett Billings scored eight points (two goals, six assists). Billings scored the final two goals of the first half to give the Rock a 5-1 halftime lead. Team captain Colin Doyle added seven points (three goals, four assists), including the 700th assist of his career to join only John Tavares with that many.
“With more goals we got more confidence and we started to try some different things. That happens. That’s what happens when you get confidence,” said Doyle. “When you get rolling like that, good things happen. I think that we needed that. That was really good for our confidence to get back and play like that.”
Jarrett Davis gave Rochester its only lead of the game 10:06 into the first quarter with a highlight-reel goal. Toronto defender Stephen Hoar knocked Davis to the ground from behind, and with the shot clock expiring, he fired a shot while lying on his back.
“I knew the shot clock was low and I basically just wanted to get it on net and try and get a reset … I think a lot of it had to do with luck. I just kind of threw it at the net and it went in,” said Davis.
That turned out to be the only goal Rochester would score in the first 30 minutes. Davis scored in the third quarter to end Toronto’s run, cutting the lead to 8-2. He finished with three points (two goals, one assist).
Cody Jamieson led the Knighthawks with four points (two goals, two assists). He scored twice in the fourth quarter, once unassisted, but like the rest of the offense, struggled to land shots on net.
“We really laid an egg. Tonight, it was embarrassing actually on both ends of the floor. This far in the season, there’s no excuses for that. It’s just an awful game. We didn’t come prepared. They outworked us all night,” said Rochester forward Mike Accursi.
Jordan Hall left the game near the end of the first quarter with a lower-body injury. He was pulled from the bottom of a scrum in front of the Toronto bench and had to be carried into the locker room.
Rochester’s Matt Vinc made 42 saves on 55 shots. His frustration was visible throughout the entire game, once going after Doyle and pouncing on Kasey Beirnes who dove into the crease on a goal.
“[Vinc] has been bailing us out. It’s not on him tonight. We’re letting them get their good shots and their looks. We got to be better in front of him. He’s been folding the fort for us,” said defenseman Mike Kirk.