Garrett Billings tied a franchise-record with six goals to help the Toronto Rock (6-2) beat the Calgary Roughnecks (4-3) with a 17-12 home win before a crowd of 10,026 at Air Canada Centre on Friday night. (Photo: Graig Abel)
Garrett Billings tied a franchise-record with six goals and posted a game-high 10 points (6+4) to help the Toronto Rock (6-2) to a 17-12 home win over the Calgary Roughnecks (4-3) before a crowd of 10,026 at Air Canada Centre on Friday night.
“[Billings'] shot was pinpoint tonight,” said Rock head coach Troy Cordingley. “I had a good view of three of them hitting the post and going in.”
The strong game by Billings was complemented by the play of Rock captain Colin Doyle, who also lit up the scoresheet by scoring a hat trick and adding four assists on the night.
Calgary got off to a roaring start thanks to forward Dane Dobbie, whose hat trick in the first quarter helped give the Roughnecks an early 5-2 lead. Billings however, with 1.8 seconds left in the first frame, scored his first goal of the game to cut the lead to 5-3.
“We knew they were going to come out strong,” said Rock goaltender Nick Rose, who stopped 46 of 58 shots for a .793 save percentage. “We just had to match them and I think we slowly took over the game.”
The Rock went on to outscore the Roughnecks 11-4 in the second and third quarters, giving them a convincing lead that they would not give up.
A major contributor to Toronto’s surge was a lengthy power play opportunity which came 5:31 into the third quarter. Following the Rock’s 11th goal, Roughnecks transition player Geoff Snider dropped the gloves and grabbed Toronto’s Scott Evans. Evans, though taking a few punches, refused to fight as Snider received seven total minutes in penalties and a game misconduct.
“[Snider] is probably good for a couple penalties a game, I saw my opportunity to see if we could get a few power play goals,” Evans said. “With our [group], I’ll take a seven minute power play any day of the week.”
During the seven minute stretch, the Rock built their lead to 14-7 with power play goals coming from Stephan Leblanc, Doyle and Billings.
"That [power play] was the turning point in the game,” Cordingley said. “Full credit to [Evans], he’s done a job for us.”
For Calgary, the loss to Toronto halts a four-game winning streak after they started the season at the bottom of the West Division standings with a 0-2 record.
“We got outplayed in every facet of the game,” said Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky. “We got our work cut for us now…we made some key mistakes.”
On the night, Calgary gave up a staggering nine power play goals on 12 attempts, the most man-advantage goals scored by a team since 2007. Meanwhile, the Roughnecks only managed two power play goals of their own.
“I think we took too many penalties in the second half,” said Roughnecks forward Shawn Evans, Scott’s younger brother who was held without a goal but added four assists in the loss. “We just gave them too many easy chances.”
Roughnecks goaltender Mike Poulin struggled between the pipes, stopping only 32 of 48 shots for a subpar .667 save percentage. Dobbie, the lone bright spot for Calgary, recorded a team high seven points (5+2). The star forward continues his strong play this season since coming back from suspension in Week #3. Over five games, Dobbie has collected 29 points (17+12).
The Roughnecks will get a chance to redeem their loss when they head to Minnesota tomorrow night for a 7 p.m. game at Xcel Energy Center. The Rock won’t see action again until Feb. 28 when they host the Buffalo Bandits.