The Toronto Rock defeated the Rochester Knighthawks by a score of 14-10 during NLL preseason action at Bell Centre in Montreal on Saturday.
Professional lacrosse returned to Quebec on Saturday night as the Toronto Rock defeated the Rochester Knighthawks by a score of 14-10 in front of 7,269 fans at Bell Centre in Montreal.
The Rock and Knighthawks each had one player on their roster tonight that was selected from the Quebec Lacrosse Showcase in mid-November. Toronto’s selection, Mark Kirby from Kahnawake, Quebec opened the scoring early in the first quarter to put the Rock up 1-0. The two teams traded goals back and forth leaving things squared at 2-2 after one quarter. Garrett Billings had the other Rock goal.
Billings wasted little time scoring his second goal of the game just over 30 seconds into the second quarter. Stephen Keogh and Cory Vitarelli scored a pair of quick answers to give the Knighthawks their first lead of the night 4-3. From there, the Rock rattled off five straight goals to lead 8-4. Rochester scored shorthanded before the end of the half as the Rock carried an 8-5 edge into the break.
“It felt good. I was a little rusty with a couple of things," said newly-acquired Knighthawks defenseman Paul Dawson. "All in all, I thought it was a good game."
Despite a plethora of scoring opportunities for both teams, there wasn’t any scoring until Scott Evans put Toronto up 9-5 with just under four minutes to play in the third. Rochester scored three straight to close out the scoring in the quarter, shaving the Rock lead to 9-8.
The Rock wasted little time getting rolling in the final quarter as they scored the first four goals of the fourth to lead 13-8. Three of those four goals came from the stick of Scott Evans to run his total to four goals. He saved his best for last as his fourth goal was a no-look, between-the-legs finish from the top of the crease that brought the Bell Centre crowd to their feet. Both teams later traded goals for the 14-10 final.
Toronto outshot Rochester 51-44. Scott Evans led the goal scoring parade for the Rock with four and Garrett Billings found the net three times. Stephan Leblanc chipped in with a pair of goals for Toronto.
“I had never been to the [Montreal] before," said Knighthawks forward Cory Vitarelli, who finished with three points (1+2). "The Bell Centre is a pretty special place to have a game."