What A Mess! Riggers Embarrass Rock At ACC

Accompanying photos courtesy of M40 Images

Plain and simple….what a mess!

Saturday night the Toronto Rock squared off at home against the visiting Calgary Roughnecks, and it was not pretty. Looking eerily similar although not quite as bad as the rout Buffalo put on Rochester Friday night; the Riggers beat the Rock 16-9 in front of 12,865 faithful.

The game started out with Calgary jumping on the Rock for an early 3-0 lead, and it continued all night. Calgary was a much more energetic team, a much faster team, and a much more disciplined team. Although they were not playing an emotionally undisciplined game, Toronto just could not keep up with Calgary in every facet of the game. Calgary’s six first half Power Plays will attest to this, with three of the six coming from Toronto defenders holding penalties.

Calgary’s offensive speed and pick and roll style beat the slow Rock defenders constantly throughout the first half of the game. That left Rock goalie Bob Watson abandoned all by himself. By my count, the first six Calgary markers came on a shot from directly in front of Watson, most often uncontested. And when the Rock finally realized the Calgary scheme, the Roughnecks simply changed to an all out speed offence, with some long ball shooting which seemed to handcuff Watson, most notably off the stick of Josh Sanderson in the second half.

Outside of a brief run in the 2nd quarter where Toronto outscored Calgary 4-2, the Rock were never in this game. They closed the gap to 9-8 at the half, but mustered one goal in the remaining thirty minutes of play. A Luke Wiles Power Play goal was all the scoring Toronto would put together in that time frame.

Countless times Toronto could not get possession of a loose ball in their end (a couple of times eventually resulting in Calgary goals). And more often than not, in the offensive end, passes would go to an unsuspecting recipient, only to be scooped up by a Roughneck player and transitioned the other way.

Calgary won the faceoff battle (going 18-29), won the shot battle (by 50-38), and completely dominated the game for all but about seven second quarter minutes.

Dane Dobbie (3,3), Josh Sanderson (3,5), Kalen Toth 3,4), and Curt Malawsky (3,0) all had three goals each for Calgary, with Tracey Kelusky (2,3) and Nolan Heavenor (2,0) each netting two.

For Toronto Luke Wiles scored three (3,2), Lewis Ratcliffe (2,2) had two and singles went to Jason Crosbie (1,2), Stephen Hoar (1,0), Kasey Beirnes (1,0), and Josh Wasson (1,2). Wasson and Hoar’s were both their first with Toronto.

Other Game Notes:

– Josh Sanderson had to have had a smile ear to ear after the game. It is no secret that he was not pleased with the trade last season sending him to Calgary. And he showed Saturday night that he was a big part of Calgary’s offense scoring all three of his goals in the third quarter, while earlier in the game setting up five others.
– I was very impressed with the play of Nolan Heavenor. He scored twice, but like most all of his teammates, played with a high degree of energy, and just did a lot of the right things. The same can be said for Dane Dobbie.
– there is only one ball in Toronto’s offensive end. Tonight it belonged to Luke Wiles and he made the most of it. But there was a lot of confusion, and inconsistency at that end of the floor as well tonight.
– Toronto had eight goals on 17 shots at one point. From there they scored once on 21 shots.
– Scott Campbell was in the Press Box for the game. Why? I don’t know, but I thought his physical play could have been useful.
– attendance was low for a Rock home game. Was it the bad snowy weather outside or was it a message from fans?



  1. Not sure who you’re talking to, but Josh Sanderson was happier than a pig in you know what to be out of that zoo of a franchise. Agreed that Toronto’s defense is built from the stone ages. Not sure Clark realizes the game is a different species from when he last played in Toronto.

  2. A very slow almost plodding D at times cost the Rock an embarrising decison against thier cross country rivals. I agree Gary ,that the missed passes and inability to gather in loose balls also cost the Rock this one. A snowy night kept the walk ups at a very concerning low ,the building seemed almost empty at times .Toronto has 2 weeks off before they face the Knighthawks ,lets see what the brainstrust at the ACC can come up with by then, or Brad Watters is looking at having to shell out a whole bunch of free ducats if the Rock miss the playoffs again this year . Jason Crosbie continues to impress ,perhaps this 2 week break will se the debut of Craig Conn and a much needed Chad Thompson on the back end to add some youth , Jay Winder is still in the wings due to injury , this team need an injection of youth and enthusiasm . Ryan Benesch admitted to the Edmonton papers, that it was his inability to mesh with the coaching staff that cost him his place in the lineup , lets see what a change of venue does for him , thats 3 teams for him in just 3 years , maybe its not the coaches , who knows, he might be hard to handle, lets stayed tuned and watch .

  3. Well it was no secret that he wasn’t meshing with the coaches!! I think even the most casual fan could see that. But what was it the coaches were asking of him? I’ve read elsewhere they had unrealictic demands on him. Simply saying he didn’t mesh with the coaching staff means nothing. Doyle and Sanderson apparently didn’t mesh with this staff either and were booted out. Same with Suddons apparently. It doesn’t sound like it takes much not to see eye to eye with a coaching staff that should have been booted after last year’s horrific run. The most revealing quotes from people this weekend have been from Clark, who sounds like he has no idea how to motivate or run this team. When a coach tells you that, show him the door already!!!!

  4. 1. you gave away Doyle for Benesch and then give him away for draft picks…hmmmmmm.
    2. last season was bad, this season worse and yet coaching staff stays…..hmmmmmmm
    3. Lovell and Sanderson had much better success and yet they are gone…..hmmmmmmm
    4. Defense was bad, yes. But Watson was has to take a lot of the blame as well. He couldn’t stop a beach ball on Saturday night. It was embarassing. And yet, they finally pull him but then put him back in….hmmmmmmm…does he have some embarassing pictures of people in high places or something?
    5. You trade away a good young goalie like Poulin to keep a “done” older goalie…hmmmmmm.
    6. Watson couldn’t even compete at the Senior level .
    Conclusion: Rock desperately needs some measures taken. Bring back Lovell (I’m guessing Sanderson is happy in Calgary). Build this team back up and make some good decisions for the “team” not for individual players or the coaching staff.

  5. BobS: I agree with most of what you said, but Watson is “Done”? This is the guy that won Goaltender of the Year **last year**, on a team with a losing record. He didn’t have a great night on Saturday, but not all of the goals were his fault, and he did make some solid saves. The only reason they put him back in was because he runs faster than Attwood so he can get to and from the bench (for the extra attacker) faster.

    I totally agree with points #1-3 and your conclusion.

  6. Wow, another coaching overhaul in Toronto. I think my two year old saw that one coming. So much for relying on that “braintrust”. And I just noticed your comments of Benesch playing for three teams in three years. You do realize he didn’t play a single game for San Jose due to the fact that the Rock offered the world to get him, right? You do realize he played for the same junior team his entire junior career, right? Some of which was spent with Doyle and Wetherup on the bench, who I woulda assume he got along with famously. Funny, all three of those guys are former Rockers. You do realize he again stayed in KW in his first senior season, turning down offers to play out west, right? If you’re going to call out a kid, make sure you have your facts straight. No need to drag him through the mud on the Rock’s dime.

  7. TH,

    All very good points. You basically just took most of my interview I have upcomng with Ryan. 🙂

    Watch for it…..

  8. What the rock need right now is scoring. With the teams as evenly matched as they are, the first tie breaking procedure, as I understand it, is goals for. Given this, if the Rock are unable to match the wins by top teams (example, Buffalo), they should aim for a tiebreak and outscore the other teams.

    Watson is still a great goaltender and can keep the Rock in tight games. The league has obviously clued into his weakness though (outside shot, especially those over the shoulder of defenders). Either way, you can’t win without scoring. It’s an issue which needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

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