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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
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Sat, Mar 25
21:30:00
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Saskatchewan
Sat, Mar 25
22:00:00
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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
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Colorado
Fri, Mar 31
22:00:00
Calgary
San Diego
Sat, Apr 1
19:00:00
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Sat, Apr 1
20:00:00
Albany
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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
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Calgary
Sat, Apr 8
21:00:00
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Colorado
Sat, Apr 8
22:30:00
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WK
20
Fri, Apr 14
21:00:00
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Fri, Apr 14
21:00:00
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Sat, Apr 15
19:00:00
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Sat, Apr 15
19:00:00
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Albany
Sat, Apr 15
19:30:00
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Sat, Apr 15
21:30:00
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Saskatchewan
Sat, Apr 15
22:00:00
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Vancouver
WK
21
Fri, Apr 21
20:30:00
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Panther City
Sat, Apr 22
18:00:00
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Sat, Apr 22
19:00:00
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Sat, Apr 22
20:00:00
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Sat, Apr 22
21:30:00
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Sat, Apr 22
22:00:00
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Sun, Apr 23
15:00:00
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WK
22
Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
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Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
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Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
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Georgia
Sat, Apr 29
22:00:00
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San Diego
Sat, Apr 29
22:00:00
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Sat, Apr 29
22:30:00
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Scores / Schedule
Game Previews

Season Preview: Rock Size Up New Expectations After Breakout Season

‘Last year was the easy step…Here is our real test.” – Head Coach Matt Sawyer

 

The Toronto Rock took a big step in the 2016-2017 campaign.

 

Now the question is: Can the team take an even bigger one this season?

 

Coming off a disappointing 5-13 record two years ago, the Rock were a team looking for new life coming into last year.


Led by new captain Brodie Merrill, new head coach Matt Sawyer and future Rookie-Of-The-Year forward Tom Schreiber, the Rock roared back to relevance, securing second place in a competitive East Division. Toronto posted a 9-9 regular-season record, followed by a dominant victory in the East Semifinal over the New England BlackWolves.


After two hard-fought games in the East Final, the Rock’s season came to an end against the eventual champions, the Georgia Swarm.

  

For Sawyer, seeing success in his first season as head coach was nice. But, it wasn’t enough.

 

“Last year was the easy step,” the Rock head coach told NLL.com. “We took a team that won five games the year before. Here is our real test. We need to improve on a team that went 9-9 and won a playoff game. We won’t catch anyone off guard this year, which we may have last year.”

 

Rookie of the Year

 

If one player on the Rock caught anyone by surprise, it was the outstanding play of Schreiber. In his first-ever box lacrosse season, the Rookie Of The Year from East Meadow N.Y. cruised to the rookie scoring title racking up a team-best 94 points – 34 points better than the NLL’s second highest rookie scorer (Rochester’s Kyle Jackson).

 

“Personally, I’m a little more comfortable this year and more focused for the beginning of the season,” Schreiber said. “Last year, I was just trying to earn a spot. [But] we did some things that people around the league didn’t think we were capable of. At the beginning of the season, every team’s goal is to go and win it all. I think that goal is a bit more attainable, considering the success last year.”

 

‘One of the best lefties in the game’

 

Rock owner, president and general manager Jamie Dawick also got Toronto fans thinking championship when he acquired Adam Jones from the Saskatchewan Rush for a pair of first-round picks in the off-season.

 

“The opportunity to acquire one of the best lefties in the game doesn’t come along too often and it comes at a price,” Dawick said in a release earlier this summer. “Adam is a special player and makes us a better team.”

 

The former third-overall pick in 2011 is an elite goal scorer, registering 25+ goal seasons in each of his seven NLL campaigns. His best years came in 2015 and 2016 with the Colorado Mammoth where the skilled lefty scored 51 and 42 goals respectively.

 

The Rock will also get a significant boost offensively as talented forward Rob Hellyer returns after missing all of last season with a knee injury. In 2015-2016, Hellyer led the team with 45 goals and 113 points. The 25-year-old will be already entering his seventh NLL season and has 306 points in just 63 career games.

 

“I haven’t been around this game too long but I haven’t seen two guys do it much better than Jones and Hellyer,” Schreiber said. “Those two make everyone’s job a little easier. When it is time for those two to let it rip, they are usually cashing in. Their presence will also really open up everyone else.”

 

Unexpected Departures

 

Despite the two big additions on offense, the Rock will have to adapt to several departures. In the off-season, long-time defenseman Jeff Gilbert retired after nine NLL seasons along with 12-year veteran defender Rob Marshall. The duo was a sturdy tandem on the back end and both defenders played crucial roles in helping the Rock capture the 2011 Champion’s Cup.

 

The Rock will also miss the presence of Jesse Gamble for the upcoming year. The six-year veteran from Rockwood, Ont. has decided to step away from the game for a professional opportunity. Although his return this season has not been completely ruled out, Sawyer says the team is preparing to be without Gamble for the season.

 

Challen Rogers, a standout rookie last season with Toronto, will also miss the first few games while he continues to recover from a shoulder injury. Sawyer expects the hard-working Coquitlam, B.C. native to be ready for mid-December. Rogers had 7 points in 17 games on the back end while tracking down 66 loose balls in his first NLL season.

 

On offense, the Rock will be without Peterborough, Ont. native Turner Evans, who is still recovering from off-season knee surgery. Evans was fourth on the team in scoring last year with 45 points. He is expected to return in February.

 

Stingy Backend

 

Much of the Rock’s success last year was due to an excellent defensive unit, anchored by goaltender Nick Rose. Rose led the league with a 10.82 goals-against average (GAA) and was brilliant for the Rock, especially early in the season where Toronto won five of its first seven games.

 

However, the Orangeville, Ont. native played in every game last season and may have shown signs of fatigue late in the year. He failed to earn a win in his last five regular-season games where his save percentage and GAA dropped significantly.

Last year, Rose was the only goaltender in the league to play over 1,000 minutes (1,019) – 110 more than No. 2 ranked Dillon Ward (COL).

 

Part of Rose’s increased minutes was due to the injury to backup Brandon Miller, who was not healthy until midway through the season. This year with Miller fully ready, Sawyer expects the two to share the cage.

 

“We have full confidence in both goalies” Sawyer said. “But it’s up to [Rose] to maintain that starting job. We don’t anticipate him starting all 18 games of the season like last year. We feel that may have had an effect on the end of the season for him and his struggles.

 

Despite Rose’s late season woes, the Rock still surrendered the fewest goals in the East Division (200 – 11.11 per game). Along with Transition Player of the Year and captain Brodie Merrill, who scooped up the third most loose balls in the NLL last season (171), the Rock should be another stingy unit on defense but also dangerous in transition.

 

The Rock open their season against the rival Buffalo Bandits on Friday, December 8 at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo before returning for the home opener on Saturday, December 16 against the defending West Division champions, the Saskatchewan Rush.

 

On Tuesday, the Rock announced a partnership with the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF) for the team’s home opener. The Rock will donate $1 for every ticket sold to the Downie Wenjack Fund. The mission of Downie Wenjack is to encourage reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.

 

In October, Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie passed away from brain cancer at 53 years old. The Canadian legend was mourned across the world and certainly by the lacrosse community. The partnership gives the lacrosse world a chance to honor Gord, raise money and create awareness.

 

For ticket information, go to www.torontorock.com.

 

Follow Matt on Twitter for more Rock updates – @MattCullenLive

 

NLL