The Toronto Rock got a very small measure of revenge and at the very least got off on the right foot as the red-hot shooting of Brett Hickey led the Rock to a 14-8 victory over the Saskatchewan Rush in front of over an energetic crowd at the Arena at TD Place in Ottawa, Ontario on Saturday night.
These two teams met in last year’s Champion’s Cup final series, won by the Rush two games to none, while the team was still playing out of Edmonton, Alberta.
The Rock got out to an early 3-0 lead before the Saskatchewan Rush got on the board. Jordan Robertson had a pair of those goals including one shorthanded. Toronto led 4-1 after one quarter.
Hickey started to heat up in the second quarter, completing his hat-trick and pacing the Rock a 7-3 lead at the halftime break. Hickey’s best was a crease dive where he reached out and extended beyond Rush goalie Aaron Bold to bring the crowd to their feet.
The 50-goal man Hickey wasn’t done there, his fourth and fifth sandwiched Robertson’s third goal of the game to push the Rock ahead 10-3 early in the second half. Stephan Leblanc, who subbed in for Colin Doyle for the second half, scored his first of the pre-season to make it 11-3 for the Rock. The Rush scored a pair, but those were quickly answered by Dan Lintner’s second and Turner Evans’ first, restoring the Rock’s eight-goal lead which stood at 13-5 after three quarters.
The Rush scored the first three goals of the fourth quarter to make it a 13-8 game, but Patrick Merrill sank an empty netter to make the final 14-8.
Nick Rose played the first half for the Rock, allowing just 3 goals on 23 shots. Brandon Miller got in 30 minutes of work in the second half and gave up five goals on 30 shots. Aaron Bold played the first half and Tyler Carlson played the final half for Saskatchewan.
Rock goal scorers were Hickey (5), Robertson (3), Lintner (2), Dan Keane (1), Evans (1), Leblanc (1), Merrill (1). 2015 Champion’s Cup Finals MVP Mark Matthews (2) and Jeremy Thompson (2) led the way for the Rush.
The Rock will resume training camp on Tuesday evening at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre (TRAC) in Oakville. Next Saturday night at the TRAC at 7pm, the Rock will host the Colorado Mammoth as the NLL preseason continues while the Rush now shifts its sights to the team’s regular season opener.