Rock Officially Out, Hawks – Wings To Play For Final Spot

The Toronto Rock were officially eliminated from playoff contention for the second year in a row on Saturday night, with a 16-14 loss at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.

Drew Westerveldt who had four goals on the night, scored the clincher with just over a minute to play in the game on a quick shot around his defender while being tied up in front of the Toronto net. Athan Iannucci and Merrick Thompson each scored three in the win while Thomspon and Kyle Wailes both had five assists. For Toronto, Craig Conn, Kasey Beirnes, Lewis Ratcliff, and Jason Clark all had two goals. Conn and Blaine Manning both had four assists.

It has been a long and I guess you could say, eventful season for Toronto. With very high hopes coming into the year, a dreadful start, and a complete Coaching Staff change, the end result was the same as 2008. One could argue that the team played much better in the second half of the season and that the start of the season hurt them. The bottom line is that this lacrosse crazy area will now sit and watch again as other teams compete for the ultimate prize that Rock fans have now missed since 2005.

With the win, Philadelphia will now travel to Rochester next wekend to take on the Knighthawks for what will end up being the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Division. The Hawks themselves have had a very topsy turvy year. Injuries to John Grant Jr. and Scott Evans, along with a new Head Coach and then a second new Head Coach two weeks prior to the opening of the season left this team in disarray to start the season. But they have the chance to still make post season play next weekend with a win at home against the Wings. And Portland proved last season to everyone, that once you get in to post season play, anything can happen.

Boston and New York who are both already into the post season mix, were able to await a couple of leg weary teams Saturday night. Rochester and Buffalo who played each other on Friday night, each travelled to their Saturday night games and came out winless. Rochester fell to the Blazers 10-5, while Buffalo lost to New York 12-9.

Meanwhile in the Western Division, San Jose secured themselves a playoff date by defeating Colorado 11-10 in Overtime. Rookie of the Year candidate Rhys Duch scored his fifth goal of the night almost half way through the extra period for the win. Goalies Andrew Leyshon of Colorado and Tyler Richards of San Jose combined for 91 saves on 112 shots. Colin Doyle had three goals and four assists in the win, while Chris Gill scored four goals for Colorado in the loss. The Mammoth who are now in a fight with Minnesota and Edmonton for the fourth spot in the West, will play at home against the Rush next weekend, while the Swarm will be at home to New York.

Portland also inked themselves into second place with a 19-14 win in Minnesota. The Lumberjax used an eight goal second quarter to cruise to the playoffs. Calgary, who has already wrapped up the Western Division defeated Edmonton 14-13 at Rexall Place. The Rush mathmatically are still alive, but need to win next weekend and need some help from New York next week to get into the playoffs.

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