Toronto Moves To 2-0 After 10-9 Win Over Edmonton
story by Mike Hancock
Edmonton, AB – A little over 16 hours after winning in Calgary, the Toronto Rock defeated the Rush 10-9 at Edmonton’s Rexall Place on Sunday afternoon. The win moves the Rock’s record to 2-0 on the season.
“It’s absolutely huge,” said Rock head coach Troy Cordingley. “To come out of this road trip with a pair of wins over two incredibly talented teams says a lot about the character of our group. We’ll enjoy this one for a couple hours and get right back to business and preparing for Saturday’s home opener in Toronto.”
The Rock dug themselves an early hole when Toronto defender Patrick Merrill took a pair of minor penalties just 31 seconds into the opening quarter. Edmonton scored two power play goals, including one from 2012 first overall pick Mark Matthews, taking an early 2-0 lead. Toronto battled back in the in the frame but still trailed 4-2 after the opening 15 minutes.
At the end of the quarter, a late hit was delivered on Rock forward Garrett Billings that resulted in a scrum and several penalties being assessed. One of those penalties was a second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty dished out to the Rock bench and as a result, head coach Troy Cordingley was ejected from the game.
The penalties worked out in the Rush’s favour as Edmonton scored on the man advantage early, but while still shorthanded Kasey Beirnes answered for Toronto and the score stood at 5-3. The Rock added another pair, with one coming on the power play from Billings, tying the game 5-5. Edmonton added another goal before the end of the half to carry a 6-5 advantage into the break.
Edmonton got on the board first to gain a two-goal lead, but the Rock went on a three-goal run to take their first lead of the game. Two of those three goals came from Scott Evans who was released by the Rush at the beginning of their training camp in December. The Rock lead was short lived as the Rush tallied with just 8 seconds left in the third quarter to tie the game 8-8 heading into the final quarter.
Beirnes continued his clutch goal scoring with the go-ahead marker just over five minutes into the fourth quarter to put the Rock ahead 9-8. Rob Hellyer followed that up with a goal at the 12:08 mark to give Toronto their biggest lead of the night. Edmonton was able to close the gap to one, but couldn’t get any closer in the final moments despite pulling their goaltender for the extra attacker.
Billings scored a pair and added three goals for a five-point game and captain Colin Doyle also had five points, all assists. Beirnes, Evans and Josh Sanderson each scored twice for the Rock.
Nick Rose was sensational for the second consecutive night making 44 saves to pick up his second win of the season. Aaron Bold made 34 stops in a losing cause for the Rush.
Brandon Ivey sustained a lower body injury in pre-game warmup and did not play on Sunday. Damon Edwards, who left Saturday’s game early, also didn’t dress after suffering a lower body injury against Calgary. Scott Johnston was the other player scratched for the Rock. All this meant that Toronto needed to play Rock forward out of the back door on defence for portions of Sunday’s game.