Ratcliff early, Crosbie late, Rock Roll

Toronto, ON – Aided by strong performaces from both Lewis Ratcliff and Jason Crosbie, the Toronto Rock fans witnessed an offensive outburst not seen since week one this season. The duo combined for 12 points on the night with each netting four goals. And it sparked Toronto to a 16-9 win vs. the visiting Edmonton Rush in a rare Saturday afternoon contest.

It was a wild first period with Edmonton jumping our early to a 4-0 lead. Jamie Floris scored twice, with Dan Teat and Chris Seller each getting one. This caused Rock Coach Jamie Batley to play goaltender roulette for a few minutes, putting Mike Attwood in net, only to replace him with Bob Watson moments later. The move worked as Toronto battled back with four consecutive goals of their own, three of them compliments of Lewis Ratcliff. The fourth was a short handed effort by Chris Driscoll. The score after one was 4-4.

The second quarter saw a few less goals but no less intensity on the floor. Toronto capitalized for their second time in the game, while short handed when Stephen Hoar scooped a loose ball at center and raced in putting a bounce shot behind Steve Dietrich. Less than two minutes later Blaine Manning picked up a free ball ten feet in front of Dietrich and buried one to the top right corner. Jason Wulder would score Edmonton’s first goal on the Power Play, and Andy Secore later found himself in front of Bob Watson with all kinds of time. Secore faked a few times and when Watson fell into the back of the net, Secore put the ball in shortly after. Lewis Ratcliff continued to get the better of Dietrich getting his fourth on the night moments later. At the half, the Rock held a 7-6 lead.

Jason Crosbie would score 42 seconds into the third quarter on a Power Play. That was immediately followed up by a Scott Campbell score, and the Rock opened up a 9-6 lead. But Edmontons’s Ryan Benesch, on a Power Play, reminded Rock fans of his scoring touch coming out from the corner, faking to the far side and coming back to the top short side. Callum Crawford would score a simialr goal from the other corner less than a minute later, and the game was back on at 9-8.

Jason Crosbie would score to make it 10-8 on a nice feed from Craig Conn, playing in his first game in a Rock uniform. Conn was picked up by the Rock in the Arizona expansion draft, but missed all of last season with a knee injury. Andy Secore would score later on another Edmonton Power Play with a nice low underhand shot that caught Watson. After three quarters it was 10-9 Toronto.

Chris Driscoll opened the scoring only 11 seconds into the fourth; a quarter dominated by Toronto. Crosbie would get his hat trick goal a la Gary Gait from behind the net, and he enjoyed that one so much he later took advanttage of a partial 2 on 1, peeling back and throwing an underhand between Dietrich’s legs. Kasey Beirnes added a Power Play marker and the rout was on, 14-9. Rob Marshall would score an empty net goal, and fittingly, Craig Conn would score his first of what Rock fans hope will be many, to end the game at 16-9.

As I mentioned last week, the Rock played with a lot more energy and it paid off in this game. A very slow start, was overcome by a high energy effort. Hopefully for Toronto fans, Coaches Batley, Milligan and Keast are already changing the mindset of the team.

Other Game Notes:

– Toronto scored twice while a man short.
– Edmonton was 3-9 on the PP, the Rock were 3-4
– Stephen Hoar had a solid night in the faceoff circle going 18-29, the Rock as a team were 19-31
– goal of the night was Jason Crosbie doing the air Gait from behind the net.
– it was also good to see Craig Conn back in uniform. He did not look 100% but he is back.
– Ryan Benesch’s return to Toronto, did not go as he would have liked, scoring one goal and adding two assists. But it is clear, Benesch will be a real bright spot for the Rush for years to come.
– Derek Suddons also played in front of the former home fans and played well.
– the Toronto scoring spree was welcomed by fans. If they can continue to find the hot hand each night, they can score buckets of goals, something I had figured would be the case
– for the 2nd straight game Dan Ladouceur was a Toronto scratch. Chad Thompson, and Mark Scherman both dressed.
– our own Ron Messer handled the PA duties for the Rock and did a great job. Now will this happen again? He / we / and you should hope it does. The Rock are 1-0 under Mess’s call.

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