The Toronto Rock defeated the Calgary Roughnecks by a score of 13-11 to open their 2013 NLL regular season on Saturday night at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Photo: Brad Watson)
The Toronto Rock (1-0) defeated the Calgary Roughnecks (0-1) on the road by a score of 13-11 to spoil their 2013 National Lacrosse League home opener on Saturday night before a crowd of 11,653 at Scotiabank Saddledome.
“That was an absolute battle,” said Rock head coach Troy Cordingley. “We had to fight for everything, every inch tonight, and we earned that win.”
Kasey Beirnes (3+2) and Colin Doyle (0+5) recorded a team-high five points for the Rock, while Garrett Billings had four assists. Curtis Dickson (2+3), Shawn Evans (3+2) and Daryl Veltman (1+4) each registered five points for the Roughnecks in the losing effort.
"We've got to start off better," said Roughnecks rookie Joe Resetarits. "We can't just play in spurts."
The Rock wasted no time out of the gate, as Stephen Hoar won the faceoff and scored just seven seconds into the game. But allowing such an early goal didn’t intimidate the Roughnecks, as Jeff Shattler responded just a couple minutes later to tie the game at 1-1.
The first quarter ended in a scrum as tension between the two teams began to build. Another brawl ensued as Roughnecks tempers flared with their inability to capitalize against Rose. The third quarter began with a two-man advantage for the Rock for a full two minutes as the result of another end-of-the-period scrum. Kasey Beirnes capitalized on the opportunity, making the score 8-4 for the Rock.
“We were close, grinding them down," said Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky. "Then we made it a 5-on-3 and ended up taking another five minute major. It puts them behind the eight ball. We didn’t have good discipline.”
It didn’t take long for the Roughnecks to answer. It was Shawn Evans again who faked the pass and put it top shelf. During a five-minute major to Calgary’s Nolan Heavenor, the Rock scored two goals to take a 10-5 lead.
After the Roughnecks major expired, Calgary showed that they weren’t ready to give up yet. Late in the third quarter a goal by team captain Andrew McBride gave them some life.
“We didn’t panic when we were down a few goals and we showed some good signs of life,” McBride said. “But we can be better and we know that.”
Another quick goal by Calgary’s Daryl Veltman closed the gap to 10-7. The Rock struck first in the fourth but Evans, who had a great night on the field, answered back. A goal by Dickson and another by Snider had the crowd up on their feet, the score now 11-10 Rock with only seven minutes left.
The Rock scored twice more, which forced the Roughnecks to pull their goaltender, Mike Poulin. Evans showed up again, making a big save in place of the goaltender in his own crease to give Calgary a chance, which they could not capitalize on.
“We earned it,” Cordingley said. “We played a 60-minute game, played real well against a real good team.”
Toronto went 4-for-4 on the powerplay while Calgary went 2-for-6 with the man advantage and outshot the Rock 56-48 in the loss. The veteran Beirnes scored Toronto's last two goals to secure the win.
"They came out and executed and they handed it to us," Malawsky said. "But we're young and we're going to bounce back."
The Rock stay in Alberta this weekend as they take on the Edmonton Rush for their home opener at Rexall Place at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday. The Roughnecks host the Colorado Mammoth (0-1) at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 9 p.m. ET.