Who had the New England Black Wolves beating the Toronto Rock on Saturday? Not many. But the Black Wolves used their underdog status to their advantage, beating the Rock at Scotiabank Arena 12 to 8.
“It was a solid game. We were good in all the aspects we needed to be,” said Black Wolves’ head coach Glenn Clark. “Our goaltending was very good. Our specialty teams were good. I thought it was a really balanced game.”
Callum Crawford and Joe Resetarits led the Black Wolves with seven and five points, respectively. Though the Rock led 2-0 just over a minute into the game, the Back Wolves led 4-3 by the end of the first on a pair from Resetarits.
“In my pre-game speech I said they were going to come out on fire,” noted Clark. “We had to weather the storm form the first five minutes. They scored two goals and we were a little disheveled. The messaging on the bench was take a breath, settle in, and we did.”
New Rock forward Dan Dawson made an impact 39 seconds into the game going top corner on Doug Jamieson. It was a special moment for the Oakville native, playing on the team he grew up cheering for. Unfortunately, it was soured by the loss.
“Any goal in this league is special but I’d rather take the win,” Dawson said. “My family and friends are in the stands and it means a lot to have the opportunity to play for the Rock. It’s just disappointing we didn’t give the fans the outcome they deserve.”
New England was up 7-3 in the second until Rob Hellyer gave the Rock some life, kicking off a span of three goals in 1:40. Former Rock Stephan Leblanc stopped the run a minute later to give the ‘Wolves an 8-6 lead at halftime.
Johnny Powless converted Tom Schreiber’s pass to open the third. The Rock tied the game shortly thereafter on a power play after Adam Jones’ shot was deflected, hit the boards, and bounced out front of Jamieson where defender Mackenzie Mitchell accidentally corralled it into his own net.
That was one of two turning points in the game – the other a disallowed Scott Dominey goal in the fourth – but not for the Rock. The Black Wolves responded hungrily, ending the third with an 11-8 lead. Third-overall pick Andrew Kew scored his first NLL goal. Crawford followed that with a pair, first with a shorthanded high-low shot and then with a shot through a crowd.
Nick Chaykowsky, who did some excellent penalty killing in the game, scored an empty netter late in the fourth.
“We didn’t play a smart game tonight,” Dawson said. “They outworked us. They played better than us and that leads to a loss. I didn’t think we controlled the ball tonight. We had a lot of forced turnovers – I thought the defense gave us a chance to get back in it in the fourth quarter but we just couldn’t get anything going on the power play.”
Both teams have western trips next weekend: New England is in Saskatchewan on Saturday while the Rock have a date with the San Diego Seals.