Shawn Palmer, Toronto Rock Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©
Featured Image Photo Courtesy of the Toronto Rock
It had been 636 days since the last Toronto Rock (1-0) game and there have been a lot of changes since then. Toronto is now playing their home games in Hamilton at the First Ontario Centre and their first home game was against a new (old) team the Albany Firewolves (0-1). The last time these two teams met, Albany used to be the New England Black Wolves and they proved to be worthy opponents on this night giving all that they had against Toronto but in the end the Rock came from behind to edge the Firewolves. Final Score: Toronto 10—Albany 9.
The Rock started the scoring early when Rob Hellyer (1G, 4A) on a 2 man power play received a pass from Dan Craig (1G, 2A) and beat Doug Jamieson (43 saves) to the stick side less than two minutes into the first quarter to give the Rock a 1-0 lead. Less than two minutes later Tony Malcolm (1G) took an outside shot that beat Nick Rose (34 saves) between the legs to tie it up 1-1. Toronto got that one back less than three minutes later as Tom Schreiber (4G, 1A) received a feed from Hellyer and dove from behind the net to beat Jamieson who was looking the other way for another Rock power play goal putting them back up 2-1. Andrew Kew (4G, 2A) evened up the game again with his own power play goal from the outside, beating Rose through the five-hole just past the halfway mark of the first quarter tying it at 2’s. John Lafontaine (1G) gave Albany their first lead of the game with less than five minutes left in the first quarter as he went in on a breakaway, faked low and dunked it over top of Rose to make it 3-2 Albany. In the last minute of the quarter the Rock went on another power play and Schreiber would score on a laser from the top beating Jamieson to the stick side to tie it up at 3’s. Albany had the last possession of the quarter, where they pulled the goalie for an extra attacker. This proved to be a good move as Charlie Kitchen (1G) found himself all alone in front and finishes off a nice pass from Kew to score his first NLL goal and give the Firewolves the lead at the end of the first quarter. Score at the end of one: Albany 4—Toronto 3.
The back and forth scoring continued in the second quarter as Toronto’s Reid Reinholdt (2G, 3A) received a breakaway pass from Latrell Harris (2A) on another power play., threw 3 fakes and dove across the crease to deposit the ball in the top corner behind Jamieson to tie the game 4-4 less than four minutes into the second quarter. Kew scored his second of the game as he received a pass on transition and beat Rose with a bounce shot through the legs to restore the Albany one goal lead 5-4. A minute and a half later Schreiber took a pass in the middle of the floor from Reinholdt and beat Jamieson through the legs for his hat trick goal to tie it back up again at 5’s. This quarter Toronto found itself with the last possession, pulled their goalie for the extra attacker and Craig took a hard overhand shot from up high beating Jamieson to the top corner with 1.6 seconds left in the half to give Toronto the lead. The shots at the end of the half were Toronto 29 and Albany 23. Score at the end of two: Toronto 6—Albany 5.
Less than a minute into the third quarter the Rock extended their lead as Reinholdt beat Jamieson to the short side with a quick stick shot as the 30 second clock was about to expire to make it 7–5. The Rock though that they had made it a three goal lead on a goal from Hellyer but after a lengthy review it was reversed because one of the other Rock players had stepped on the crease line as the ball was going into the net. Just over eight minutes into the quarter Reilly O’Connor (1G, 2A) received a pass in front from Jordan Durston (2A) and beat Rose with a bounce shot through the legs to get Albany to within one again at 7-6. The rest of the quarter saw the defenses clamp down and neither team was able to bulge the twine. The shots on goal at the end of three quarters were Toronto 43 and Albany 35. Score at the end of three: Score at the end of three: Toronto 7—Albany 6
The Rock started on the power-play in the fourth quarter and Schreiber found himself behind the net with the ball and once again dove ahead to beat Jamieson scoring his fourth of the game and restored the two goal lead for the Rock 8-6. Mitch DeSnoo, one of the newest Rock players was given a five minute penalty for an illegal body check and a 10 minute misconduct so he was forced to leave the game. This gave Albany a five minute power play and they took advantage of it. First Jacob Ruest (1G) took a cross crease pass from Kew and scored a quick stick goal, beating Rose to the short side putting them to within one 8-7 still in favor of the Rock. Three minutes later while still on the power play, Kew with a bounce shot from the outside beat Rose to tie it up 8-8 with his third goal of the game. Kew continued with his hot hand as he fired a laser from the top to beat Rose to the stick side for his fourth goal of the game and put Albany on top 9–8 with less than seven minutes left in the game. Dan Dawson (2G, 1A) was not to be kept off of the score sheet as he went through three defenders beating Jamieson with a bounce shot to tie it up 9-9 with just over five minutes left. Three minutes later Harris fed Dawson who beat Jamieson high to the glove side to give Toronto the final lead that they would not relinquish. Albany pulled their goalie to get an extra attacker and it almost worked had it not been for a game saving diving stop by Nick Rose to preserve the win. Final Score: Toronto 10—Albany 9.
The three stars of the game were:
Albany Firewolves—Andrew Kew (4G, 2A)
Toronto Rock—Tom Schreiber (4G, 1A)
Toronto Rock—Rob Hellyer (1G, 4A)
The Toronto Rock (1-0) will head to Halifax to play the Thunderbirds (1-0) on Friday December 10th at 6:00 p.m. EST. Canadian fans can catch the game on TSN.ca or the TSN app. USA fans can catch this game on ESPN+.
The Albany Firewolves (0-1) have a bye week and will be back to play their inaugural home game on Saturday December 18th against the Rochester Knighthawks (1-0) at 7:00 p.m. EST
Shawn Palmer, Toronto Rock Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©