After Saturday night's win in Calgary, the Toronto Rock (2-0) completed their weekend road sweep in Alberta with a 10-9 win over the Edmonton Rush (0-1) to spoil their 2013 National Lacrosse League home opener at Rexall Place on Sunday.
“It’s absolutely huge,” said Rock head coach Troy Cordingley. “To come out of this road trip with a pair of wins over two incredibly talented teams says a lot about the character of our group."
Rush rookie forward Mark Matthews, the first overall pick in the 2012 NLL Entry Draft, opened the scoring on the powerplay just 44 seconds into the game. Curtis Knight, Edmonton's other first-round draft selection (8th overall), made it 2-0 less than a minute later as the Rush led 4-2 after the first quarter.
Knight added to the lead by scoring early in the second quarter, but the Rock's three-goal run tied the game at 5-5. Matthews scored another before half for a 6-5 halftime lead.
Scott Evans scored twice in the third quarter and the Rock took their first lead up 8-7, but Knight scored his third of the day to tie the game entering the fourth quarter.
Kasey Beirnes regained the lead for Toronto almost six minutes into the final frame before Rob Hellyer made it 10-8 with 2:57 left. But Edmonton wouldn't quit as Matthews scored his third goal by diving into the crease 41 seconds later before the Rush called timeout down by a goal with 1:08 remaining. After both teams came up empty in their possessions, Edmonton got the ball and pulled their goalie with 30 seconds left but could not score the equalizer as the Rock held on for the win.
Rock captain Colin Doyle had a game-high five assists and Garrett Billings recorded five points (2+3) while Kasey Beirnes, Scott Evans and Josh Sanderson each scored twice. Knight (3+2), Matthews (3+2) and Corey Small (1+4) all recorded a team-high five points in the loss.
Toronto's Nick Rose had 43 stops on 52 shots while Aaron Bold made 33 saves on 43 shots for Edmonton in the losing effort.
Next weekend, Toronto plays their home opener on Saturday, Jan. 19 at Air Canada Centre against the Philadelphia Wings (1-0) at 7 p.m. ET while Edmonton hits the road to take on the Washington Stealth (2-0) on Sunday, Jan. 20 at 6 p.m. ET at Comcast Arena.
"We’ll enjoy this one for a couple hours," said Cordingley, who was automatically ejected from the game after the first quarter when the Toronto bench received a second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. "Then get right back to business and preparing for Saturday’s home opener in Toronto.”