The Toronto Rock entered Good Friday’s home game against the Calgary Roughnecks on a five game losing streak. After starting the season 6-1, the Rock entered the game mired in a three way tie with Boston and Buffalo. All three teams sat with six wins and six losses. Calgary sat third in the West at six wins and five losses, a game behind Edmonton and a game up on Minnesota. Meanwhile Calgary was in a battle of their own, sitting third in hte Western division one game behind Edmonton and one game up on Minnesota.
It was the Rock that came out of their five game slide with a 9-8 victory. Goalies Bob Watson and Mike Poulin kept the scoring section of the game sheet very respectable with some stellar netminding in both ends.
Toronto got a break early when just 49 seconds into the game, the Roughnecks Rob van Beek took a 5 minute major for an illegal cross check. The Rock scored twice with that Power Play, and would later score a third with the man up. Blaine Manning found the back of the net twice, and Garrett Billings scored the other. But Calgary scored two even strength goals, one of them a beauty by Jeff Shattler. Shattler waltzed through three Rock defenders switching hands on his stick and moving in every possible direction to avoid losing the ball to a defender. He then put a nice move on Rock goalie Bob Watson and Calgary was on the scoreboard. Craig Conn scored another nice goal coming out of the corner and after one quarter, Calgary trailed by only one goal at 3-2.
The second quarter saw Stephan Leblanc score Toronto’s fourth goal on the man advantage to regain a two goal lead. Moments later Garret Billings captured his fifth point on five goals, scoring his second of the game. The score at the half was 5-2 for Toronto.
Calgary would dominate the scoreboard in the third quarter scoring three times to tie the game. Peter McFetridge, Jeff Moleski, and Craig Conn notted the score at 5-5 after three.
Dane Dobbie would open the fourth quarter scoring and I guess you could say a scoring spree of sorts followed. Stephan Leblanc would score Toronto’s fifth Power Play goal of the night to tie it at 6-6. The two players would each score again for their respective teams and we were at 7-7 late in the game.
Queue the kid. Forward Geoff McNulty, would net the go ahead goal with six minutes left on the clock. And a few minutes later Stephan Leblanc added another for a 9-7 lead. But Jeff Shattler wasn’t about to let the Rock celebration start just yet. Shattler wired one past Watson with 1:04 left on the fourth quarter clock. That made for some very tense moments in the last 64 seconds for the home fans.
I have to say, the last four minutes had the home fans the most vocal and exccited that I have seen them this season. It was a huge win for Toronto going into tomorrow night in Philadelphia.
Other Game Notes:
– goal of the night was easily Shattler’s in the first quarter. Many moves and determination driving to the net got him the marker.
– a very close second was a fourth quarter hail Mary pass from Mike Poulin in his crease to Dane Dobbie breaking off the bench. A precision pass from Poulin allowed Dobbie catch the ball in full stride.
– Toronto Power Play was 5-6 on the night, while Calgary was 0-3
– shots were 54-48 in favour of Toronto
– the Roughnecks were without captain Tracey Kelusky and Kaleb Toth