Nick Rose may have stolen the show on Sunday afternoon, but it just wasn’t enough as the Toronto Rock (5-6) fell in overtime to the East Division leading New England Black Wolves (6-4) by a score of 8-7 at Air Canada Centre. Former Rock Kevin Crowley scored the overtime winner, his third goal of the game, for the Black Wolves 2:08 into the extra period.
“The effort was there and it was much better than the last time out,” said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer. “Ultimately it wasn’t the result we wanted but we left a lot on the floor and you can’t fault them for the effort and the commitment to doing what we need to do. Obviously, it’s no secret that we’re struggling and squeezing the sticks up front.”
Toronto scored just 28 seconds into the game when Rob Hellyer scored on an outside shot but the Rock offence went silent for the remainder of the quarter. New England scored four times including a wild one with just a second left in the first quarter and the Black Wolves led 4-1.
The Rock broke up New England’s four-goal run with a Brett Hickey tally just under six minutes into the second quarter. From there, the two teams traded goals and the Rock did their own buzzer-beating at the end of the half when Reid Reinholdt buried with four seconds left and Toronto trailed 6-4 at the break.
Neither team had much luck scoring in the early goings of the second half, that was until Brock Sorensen brought the house down with just under two minutes to go in the quarter. Sorensen took to the air and lifted his six-foot, six-inch frame high into the air and dunked home perhaps the goal-of-the-year from behind the net. That brought the Rock within one, trailing it 6-5 heading into the fourth quarter.
Toronto began the quarter by killing off the tail end of a five-minute major for goaltender interference that was assessed to Rob Hellyer. Shortly after that, New England was awarded a penalty shot midway through the fourth quarter and Rock goaltender Nick Rose came up with a big save to keep the frame scoreless. That seemed to give the Rock a bit of momentum and Hellyer tied the game at sixes moments later. Crowley’s second of the game gave New England a one-goal lead with 3:39 to play.
After a late power play opportunity came up empty for the Rock, Hickey scored with an extra-attacker on the floor for Toronto to tie the game with just 20 seconds left in regulation. That meant we were heading for overtime, tied 7-7.
It was just past the two-minute mark when Crowley sank the game winner, handing Toronto its third straight loss.
Rose was unbelievable in goal and gave the Rock a chance to win the game. He made 51 saves on 58 shots and was the game’s third star. Crowley’s three goals earned him the game’s first star while Black Wolves’ goalie Aaron Bold was the second star.
Toronto will travel to New England to face these same Black Wolves on Friday night in Uncasville, CT. Game time is 7:30pm and fans can watch the game live on NLLTV.com.
The Rock will play another road game in Calgary on Mar. 24 before returning home on Friday, Mar. 30 to face the Colorado Mammoth. For more information on Toronto Rock tickets, please visit torontorock.com/tickets or call 416-596-3075.