Shawn Palmer, Toronto Rock Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©
Featured Image Photo Credit: Toronto Rock
The Toronto Rock (1-1) were on the road Friday night as they headed to Halifax to play the Thunderbirds (2-0) after both teams came away with wins in Week One. During last week’s game against the Albany Firewolves (0-1) the Rock completed a fourth quarter comeback to start the season with a win. This week after struggling with any offense in the first half against a hot goalie they put together another fourth quarter run that came up short against the Thunderbirds in front of a crowd of 6,424 at the Scotiabank Centre. Final Score: Halifax 11—Toronto 7.
In the first quarter Toronto came out firing outshooting Halifax 9 – 2 at one point but could not put one past Warren Hill (45 saves) who was a brick wall all night. The first goal of the game didn’t happen until over six minutes had gone by in the opening quarter. In transition, Clarke Petterson (6G, 1A) and Tyson Bell (1A) went down the floor on a two on one, Bell passed to Petterson who beat Nick Rose (31 saves) low to the stick side to give Halifax a 1 – 0 lead. The teams traded chances for the rest of the quarter and in the final seconds with the Rock goalie pulled for the extra attacker, Petterson scored his second in a row when he fired a shot from the sideboard and beat Rose through the legs with less than one second left in the first. At the end of the first quarter Toronto had outshot Halifax 15-8 but Halifax had the lead 2-0.
The Rock finally lit the lamp behind Hill just over three minutes into the second quarter when Dan Craig (1G, 3A) received a pass from Aaron Forster (1A) and beat Hill to the top corner on the short side with a hard overhand shot to cut the lead in half to 2 – 1. Petterson completed his hat trick with a laser shot beating Rose over his shoulder and into the top corner to restore the two goal lead for Halifax. Less than 30 seconds later the Thunderbirds had some good ball movement and Chris Boushy (3G, 4A) received a pass from Stephen Leblanc (2A) at the side of the net and his quick stick shot beat Rose to the open side to make it 4 – 1 for Halifax. The Thunderbirds continued their scoring run and again it was Petterson scoring his fourth on the night cutting through two defenders and beat Rose over top of his shoulder increasing the lead 5 – 1. The Rock defense didn’t have an answer for Petterson in the first half as it seemed that every time he had the ball in his stick he was going to score. With less than two minutes left in the first half Petterson received a pass behind the net, dove forward and backhanded a shot between Rose’s legs for his fifth of the half. The shots on goal at the end of the first half favored Toronto 28 – Halifax 21. Score at the end of two: Halifax 6—Toronto 1.
The second half started with both teams goalies putting on a clinic as neither team could score until the third quarter was past the halfway mark. Boushy with his second of the game scored a short-handed goal as he took a shot from near the restraining line that slipped under Rose’s arm and rolled over the line to increase the Halifax lead to 7 – 1. Less than 30 seconds later Tom Schreiber (4G, 1A) on the power play fired an underhand shot from the top that went low to low and between Hill’s legs stopping the Halifax five-goal run with the score still in favor of Halifax 7-2. This was the first goal for Toronto in over 20 minutes of game play as Hill had shut the door on any chances that the Rock had during that time and was Schreiber’s 100th career goal. With less than one minute left in the third Stephen Keough (1G, 3A) broke through three defenders and passed to Boushy who beat Rose over the far shoulder for his hat trick goal extending the Thunderbirds lead to 8 – 2. The Rock completed the scoring in the third quarter when Schreiber received a cross crease pass and his quick stick shot beat Hill to the short side for his second of the game reducing the T-Birds lead to five at 8 – 3. The shots at the end of the third quarter were still in favor of Toronto 43—Halifax 30.
In the fourth Petterson was at it again as he beat his man and threw around another defender beating Rose between the legs to complete his sock trick (6th goal of the game) and the Thunderbirds led 9 – 3 less than two minutes into the final frame. Three minutes later the Rock had a 4 on 3 power play, Rob Hellyer (1G, 2A) received a nice pick from Challen Rogers (4 LB) which freed Hellyer up and he beat Hill through the legs to make it a 9 – 4 game. This started a four-goal run for the Rock. Almost half way through the last quarter, the Rock went on a transition three on two where Craig passed to Latrell Harris (1G) on the give-and-go and he beat Hill with a nice hard shot to the glove hand side to cut the Halifax lead to four at 9 – 5. Three minutes later Schreiber would notch his hat-trick with an over hand shot from the top that Hill got a piece of but not enough as it trickled over the line to get the Rock within three at 9 – 6 with just over five minutes left in the game. The Rock run continued while shorthanded as Rose made a save and with a huge outlet pass to Schreiber three quarters of the way down the floor, h caught the ball, put on the brakes and shot around his defender beating Hill to the short side for his fourth goal of the game. The Rock were now within two at 9 – 7 with just less than four minutes left in the game. As Toronto was hoping to get within one the Thunderbirds had other ideas and for the first time in the game someone other than Petterson or Boushy would score for Halifax. Keough on the power play from the top used an over hand shot from the top beating Rose over the shoulder as the shot went bar down stopping the Toronto run and extending the Halifax lead to 10 – 7. Nonkon Thompson (1G) completed the scoring as he came from the side boards untouched and dove across the crease and beat Rose to the top corner for the first NLL goal of his career. Thompson also had a fight earlier in the game so it was an eventful evening for him. The final shots on goal ended at Toronto 52—Halifax 42. Final Score: Halifax 11—Toronto 7.
Three stars of the game were:
Halifax Thunderbirds: Clarke Petterson – 6G, 1A
Halifax Thunderbirds: Warren Hill – 45 saves
Toronto Rock: Tom Schreiber – 4G, 1A
The Toronto Rock (1-1) will host the Philadelphia Wings (2-0) at the First Ontario Center in Hamilton on Saturday December 18th, 2021. Game time 7:00 p.m. EST. The game can be seen on ESPN+ in the USA and in TSN.ca or the TSN app in Canada.
The Halifax Thunderbirds (2-0) will be on the road for their next game as they travel to the Scotiabank Saddledome to face the Calgary Roughnecks (0-1) on Thursday December 30th, 2021. This is also an Alterna Cup Game as well. Game time 9:30 p.m. EST. The game can be seen on ESPN+ in the USA and this is the Game of the Week on TSN in Canada.
Shawn Palmer, Toronto Rock Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©