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WK
2
Fri, Dec 9
20:30:00
Las Vegas
Panther City
Fri, Dec 9
22:00:00
Saskatchewan
San Diego
Sat, Dec 10
19:00:00
Toronto
Rochester
Sat, Dec 10
21:30:00
Vancouver
Calgary
WK
3
Fri, Dec 16
22:00:00
Calgary
Vancouver
Fri, Dec 16
22:30:00
Panther City
Las Vegas
Sat, Dec 17
19:00:00
Buffalo
Toronto
Sat, Dec 17
19:00:00
Rochester
Albany
Sat, Dec 17
19:00:00
Philadelphia
Georgia
Sat, Dec 17
19:30:00
Halifax
New York
Sat, Dec 17
20:00:00
Colorado
Panther City
WK
5
Fri, Dec 30
19:30:00
Halifax
Buffalo
Fri, Dec 30
21:00:00
San Diego
Calgary
Sat, Dec 31
21:00:00
Panther City
Saskatchewan
WK
6
Fri, Jan 6
22:30:00
Philadelphia
Las Vegas
Sat, Jan 7
19:00:00
Panther City
Rochester
Sat, Jan 7
19:00:00
Halifax
Albany
Sat, Jan 7
19:00:00
Buffalo
Georgia
Sat, Jan 7
19:30:00
Toronto
New York
Sat, Jan 7
22:00:00
Vancouver
San Diego
Sun, Jan 8
0:00:00
Calgary
Colorado
WK
7
Fri, Jan 13
18:30:00
Albany
Halifax
Fri, Jan 13
21:00:00
Saskatchewan
Colorado
Sat, Jan 14
19:00:00
Halifax
Toronto
Sat, Jan 14
19:00:00
Panther City
Philadelphia
Sat, Jan 14
19:30:00
Georgia
Buffalo
Sat, Jan 14
21:00:00
San Diego
Calgary
Sat, Jan 14
22:00:00
Las Vegas
Vancouver
Sun, Jan 15
15:00:00
Rochester
New York
WK
8
Fri, Jan 20
19:30:00
Buffalo
Rochester
Fri, Jan 20
22:30:00
Vancouver
Las Vegas
Sat, Jan 21
19:00:00
New York
Albany
Sat, Jan 21
19:00:00
Toronto
Philadelphia
WK
9
Fri, Jan 27
18:00:00
Rochester
Halifax
Fri, Jan 27
19:00:00
Buffalo
Philadelphia
Sat, Jan 28
19:30:00
Buffalo
New York
Sat, Jan 28
20:30:00
Las Vegas
Saskatchewan
Sat, Jan 28
21:00:00
Toronto
Calgary
Sat, Jan 28
21:00:00
San Diego
Colorado
Sat, Jan 28
22:00:00
Panther City
Vancouver
WK
10
Fri, Feb 3
21:00:00
Georgia
Colorado
Sat, Feb 4
18:00:00
Calgary
Halifax
Sat, Feb 4
19:00:00
New York
Toronto
Sat, Feb 4
19:00:00
Albany
Philadelphia
Sat, Feb 4
19:30:00
Rochester
Buffalo
Sat, Feb 4
22:00:00
Panther City
San Diego
Sat, Feb 4
22:00:00
Saskatchewan
Vancouver
Sat, Feb 4
22:30:00
Colorado
Las Vegas
WK
11
Fri, Feb 10
19:30:00
Toronto
Georgia
Fri, Feb 10
21:00:00
Saskatchewan
Calgary
Sat, Feb 11
19:00:00
Halifax
Rochester
Sat, Feb 11
19:30:00
Albany
New York
Sat, Feb 11
20:00:00
Vancouver
Panther City
Sat, Feb 11
21:00:00
Colorado
Calgary
WK
12
Fri, Feb 17
22:00:00
Saskatchewan
San Diego
Fri, Feb 17
22:00:00
Calgary
Vancouver
Sat, Feb 18
19:00:00
Georgia
Toronto
Sat, Feb 18
19:00:00
Las Vegas
Albany
Sat, Feb 18
19:30:00
Philadelphia
Buffalo
Sat, Feb 18
20:00:00
Colorado
Panther City
Sun, Feb 19
13:00:00
New York
Halifax
WK
13
Fri, Feb 24
21:00:00
Panther City
Colorado
Fri, Feb 24
22:30:00
Calgary
Las Vegas
Sat, Feb 25
19:00:00
New York
Rochester
Sat, Feb 25
19:00:00
Albany
Georgia
Sat, Feb 25
20:00:00
Vancouver
Saskatchewan
WK
14
Fri, Mar 3
18:30:00
Buffalo
Halifax
Sat, Mar 4
11:30:00
New York
Philadelphia
Sat, Mar 4
16:00:00
Las Vegas
San Diego
Sat, Mar 4
19:00:00
Rochester
Toronto
Sat, Mar 4
19:00:00
Georgia
Albany
Sat, Mar 4
20:00:00
Saskatchewan
Panther City
Mon, Mar 6
19:00:00
Toronto
Philadelphia
WK
15
Fri, Mar 10
19:30:00
Halifax
Buffalo
Fri, Mar 10
21:00:00
Calgary
Colorado
Sat, Mar 11
19:00:00
Albany
Toronto
Sat, Mar 11
19:30:00
Philadelphia
New York
Sat, Mar 11
20:30:00
San Diego
Saskatchewan
Sat, Mar 11
22:30:00
Vancouver
Las Vegas
Sun, Mar 12
16:00:00
Rochester
Georgia
WK
16
Fri, Mar 17
21:00:00
Saskatchewan
Calgary
Fri, Mar 17
22:00:00
San Diego
Vancouver
Sat, Mar 18
11:00:00
Georgia
Philadelphia
Sat, Mar 18
18:00:00
Toronto
Halifax
Sat, Mar 18
19:30:00
Albany
New York
Sat, Mar 18
19:30:00
Colorado
Buffalo
Sat, Mar 18
20:00:00
Las Vegas
Panther City
Sun, Mar 19
15:00:00
Philadelphia
Rochester
WK
17
Fri, Mar 24
20:30:00
San Diego
Panther City
Sat, Mar 25
19:00:00
Toronto
Albany
Sat, Mar 25
19:00:00
Halifax
Philadelphia
Sat, Mar 25
19:30:00
Georgia
New York
Sat, Mar 25
21:30:00
Calgary
Saskatchewan
Sat, Mar 25
22:00:00
Buffalo
San Diego
Sat, Mar 25
22:00:00
Colorado
Vancouver
Sat, Mar 25
22:30:00
Rochester
Las Vegas
WK
18
Fri, Mar 31
20:00:00
New York
Georgia
Fri, Mar 31
21:00:00
Las Vegas
Colorado
Fri, Mar 31
22:00:00
Calgary
San Diego
Sat, Apr 1
19:00:00
Buffalo
Toronto
Sat, Apr 1
20:00:00
Albany
Panther City
Sat, Apr 1
21:30:00
Vancouver
Saskatchewan
Sun, Apr 2
13:00:00
Georgia
Halifax
Sun, Apr 2
18:00:00
Rochester
Philadelphia
WK
19
Sat, Apr 8
19:00:00
Albany
Rochester
Sat, Apr 8
19:00:00
Saskatchewan
Georgia
Sat, Apr 8
21:00:00
Panther City
Calgary
Sat, Apr 8
21:00:00
Vancouver
Colorado
Sat, Apr 8
22:30:00
San Diego
Las Vegas
WK
20
Fri, Apr 14
21:00:00
Las Vegas
Calgary
Fri, Apr 14
21:00:00
San Diego
Colorado
Sat, Apr 15
19:00:00
Philadelphia
Toronto
Sat, Apr 15
19:00:00
Georgia
Albany
Sat, Apr 15
19:30:00
New York
Buffalo
Sat, Apr 15
21:30:00
Halifax
Saskatchewan
Sat, Apr 15
22:00:00
Panther City
Vancouver
WK
21
Fri, Apr 21
20:30:00
Calgary
Panther City
Sat, Apr 22
18:00:00
New York
Halifax
Sat, Apr 22
19:00:00
Georgia
Rochester
Sat, Apr 22
20:00:00
Toronto
Buffalo
Sat, Apr 22
21:30:00
Colorado
Saskatchewan
Sat, Apr 22
22:00:00
Las Vegas
San Diego
Sun, Apr 23
15:00:00
Philadelphia
Albany
WK
22
Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
Philadelphia
Rochester
Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
Buffalo
Albany
Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
Halifax
Georgia
Sat, Apr 29
22:00:00
Colorado
San Diego
Sat, Apr 29
22:00:00
New York
Vancouver
Sat, Apr 29
22:30:00
Saskatchewan
Las Vegas
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Stories/Op-Ed

Guaran-T! Rock Tee Off On Bandits In Home Opener, 13-11

The Toronto Rock (3-0) stayed unbeaten by defeating the Buffalo Bandits (2-2) with a 13-11 home opener victory on “Guaranteed Win Night” before a spirited crowd of 11,413 at Air Canada Centre on Friday night.

Stephan Leblanc and Josh Sanderson combined for 15 points to give Toronto their third win of the season in what proved to be an emotional night for the NLL community.

Ahead of the opening faceoff, the Rock held a heartfelt tribute for the late Terry “T” Sanderson. The Rock players, forming a “T” at midfield, stood underneath a video tribute highlighting some of Sanderson’s finest moments in the league. As the testimonial closed, Bandits players offered their condolences by way of earnest handshakes with Rock players.

“The emotion is not going to leave us,” said Rock head coach John Lovell following the game. “Terry’s a very big part of this organization, I miss him a lot. The emotion is going to be part of who we are the entire year.”

Sanderson served two stints with the Rock organization, the latest of which starting in 2010. Over his eight total years with Toronto spanning from 2006 to present, Sanderson played large roll in the teams’ 2005 (general manager, head coach) and 2011 (general manager, assistant coach) Champion’s Cup victories. The 15-year league legend passed away in late November of last year due to heart complications.

“It’s not easy,” said Rock forward Sanderson, who on Friday played his first lacrosse home game following his father’s passing. “I just got to battle through it. It’s tough to get your mind swung back around, more so than any other game.”

Transition player Brodie Merrill, playing his first game at the ACC as a member of the Rock, opened all scoring just under four minutes after the first whistle. Just shy of four minutes later, forwards Leblanc and Mark Steenhuis traded goals 31 seconds apart with the Rock holding an early 2-1 lead. The two teams traded chances before the red-hot Rob Hellyer scored his 10th goal of the year with 2:48 left in the first frame. With time winding down, Steenhuis and Ryan Benesch each found the back of the net, tying the game 3-3 heading into the second quarter.

Just six seconds after faceoff, Jay Thorimbert completed a 3-0 Buffalo scoring run giving the Bandits their first lead of the game. Toronto quickly regained a 5-4 advantage after forwards Kasey Beirnes and Brett Hickey scored 18 seconds apart. The Bandits tightened the screws on defence and earned a 3-0 run to close the first half up 7-5.

“We couldn’t continue to play at that pace, said Bandits head coach Troy Cordingley of his team eventually surrendering a halftime lead. “I thought we were real tired in the second half and that’s from Toronto playing physical.”

Hickey, just moments into the second half, scored on the doorstep to pull the Rock within 7-6. On the goal, Josh Sanderson recorded his first of six points on the night. Hellyer and Beirnes followed up, each scoring their second goals of the game. The 3-0 run earned Toronto an 8-7 lead with 4:03 left in the third quarter. Buffalo’s Dhane Smith and Chad Culp sandwiched tallies between a Kevin Ross Toronto goal to tie the game at 9-9 heading into the final 15 minutes.

Hickey broke the tie early in the fourth frame by scoring on a trickler ahead of the slot. Leblanc, just over three minutes later, scored a man-down goal to pull the Rock ahead 11-9 with 9:48 left in the game. Buffalo pulled within two goals late with the goalie pulled but were unable to get any closer as Toronto got possession and called timeout with 40 seconds left before draining the clock en route to the win.

“I thought we started the game very well,” said Lovell. “But of the three games we played so far, I thought we made the most mistakes. We were fortunate to get some good goaltending and some goals at key times.”

The victory for Toronto earns them a 3-0 start to a season for the first time since 2011, a season in which they went on to win the Champion’s Cup. Despite only allowing four Buffalo goals in the second half, Lovell pointed to a couple defensive breakdowns, notably in the second quarter, that he would like to see cleaned up heading into Saturday night.

“There were three or four times where we didn’t look after the ball and it led to scramble play,” said Lovell. “We didn’t check the guys that we know can hurt us.”

Rock goalie Nick Rose, called upon for the first time this season ahead of Brandon Miller, answered the bell stopping 30 of Buffalo’s 41 shots for a .731 save percentage.

“I felt pretty confident going into the game,” said Rose, who saw his first action since April 18, 2014. “I’ve always felt confident against Buffalo whether it be in a winning or losing effort, I wasn’t worried tonight and I knew my teammates had my back.”

On the other end of the floor, Bandits goalie Anthony Cosmo allowed 13 goals for the second consecutive game. The 10-year league veteran stopped 41 of Toronto’s 54 shots for a .759 save percentage.

Special teams proved as a big factor in Friday night’s result as Buffalo allowed two short-handed goals while going 0-4 on the powerplay. Toronto, in their six powerplay attempts, scored twice bumping their powerplay percentage to a sparkling 58.82.

“That’s one of the best powerplay units in the league,” said Benesch who saw some time on the penalty kill unit. “If you’re taking penalties, they’re going to score some.”

Leblanc (2+7) led all shooters with nine points in the victory while Sanderson (0+6), the league’s leading scorer, followed up with six points of his own.

Steenhuis (3+4) lead all Bandits scorers with seven points in the loss. Benesch (5+1) followed close behind with six points of his own including a game-high five goals.

Friday night’s attendance was the largest for a Rock home game since April 7, 2013 when the Rock defeated Rochester 10-9 in front of 13,073 fans.

Three Stars of the Game as selected by the media:

1) Josh Sanderson
2) Stephan Leblanc
3) Ryan Benesch

The Rock will get right back at it when the team travels to Rochester for a rematch with the Knighthawks on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET while Buffalo returns to Banditland in Week 5 to face the Minnesota Swarm at First Niagara Center.

Story by Justin Millerson (@RockBeatToronto) for NLL.com. Photo by Graig Abel.

NLL