Toronto – The Toronto Rock outscored the New England Black Wolves 13-4 over the final three quarters on the way to an 18-10 win in East Division semifinal of the National Lacrosse League playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night.
The Black Wolves finished the season 8-11. Toronto advanced to the East Division finals to play the top-seeded Georgia Swarm.
New England won a pair of one-goal games against the Rock during the regular season, and seemed on to be in good position after recovering from a slow start to take a 6-5 lead after one period.
After two quick Toronto goals from Kasey Beirnes (two goals, one assist) and Damon Edwards (two goals) on a breakaway just over three minutes into the game, Reilly O’Connor put the Black Wolves on the board 7:29 into the period off a pass from Derek Suddons. Kevin Crowley (two goals, one assist) followed that goal 27 seconds later to tie the game at 2-2.
Tom Schreiber (four goals, three assists) put the Rock back up 8:20 into play, but consecutive goals from Kyle Buchanan and Brett Bucktooth put New England back up by one, 4-3. Schreiber would pick up his second with 4:33 left to play in the quarter to tie it up, but Crowley scored his second of the night just over a minute later to put the Black Wolves back up. Damon Edwards tied it back up, but Chad Culp found the back of the net with 32 seconds left in the frame to give New England the 6-5 lead.
The second quarter was all Rock, however, as Brett Hickey (two goals, six assists), Brodie Merrill and Jesse Gamble scored in the first nine minutes to put Toronto up 8-6. Hickey picked up his second of the night with 2:23 left in the quarter on a breakaway to give the Rock a three goal lead at halftime.
Schreiber picked up his third of the night 2:23 into the third quarter to put the Rock up 10-6 before Shawn Evans (two goals) found the back of the net 6:11 into the frame to cut the lead back down to three. But Toronto answered on a goal from Dan Lintner just 32 second later and Reid Reinholdt followed that up with one of his own 27 seconds after that to put the Rock up 12-7. That’s how the quarter would end.
Stephan Leblanc (two goals, three assists) found the back of the net 2:15 into the fourth to put Toronto up 13-7. With 8:36 left to play, Schreiber found the back of the net for the fourth time to give the Rock the 14-7 advantage.
Evans picked up his second of the night with 7:28 left in the game, but the Rock answered just 36 seconds later. Jay Thorimbert found the back of the net six seconds later off the faceoff, but the Rock would score twice more in the following two minutes to take a 17-9 lead.
Biernes added the final goal for Toronto while Sheldon Burns scored with seven seconds remaining for the Black Wolves.