UNCASVILLE, Conn. – In the final home game of the season, the New England Black Wolves fell to the first-place Toronto Rock 10-7.
The Rock (14-4) clinched the No. 1 seed going into the Champion’s Cup Playoffs.
After the game, Black Wolves coach Blane Harrison announced he would not be returning next season because he was making a work-related move from New Jersey to Michigan.
“My wife and I are moving to Michigan,” Harrison said. “I’ve got a little bit more responsibility in my day job so it really would be unfair of me to kind of force or expect management and ownership to fly me basically halfway across the country to give the kind of attention and focus that a head coach needs to do. I’ll certainly miss the guys. They become like your sons. Good, bad, and ugly. They’ll be the biggest thing I miss really.”
New England (4-13) was led by Garrett Billings who had a goal and four assists while Kyle Buchanan had two goals. Also contributing with multiple points was Pat Saunders with a goal and two assists, Ryan Hotaling with two assists, and Brett Bucktooth with a goal and an assist.
Josh Sanderson had a game-high six points scoring two goals and adding four assists for the Rock. Colin Doyle and Brett Hickey each had five points for Toronto as Doyle had two goals and three assists and Hickey had four goals and one assist.
The Black Wolves got on the board first as Kevin Buchanan took the opening faceoff and netted his only goal of the night just 12 second into the game. Toronto would tie the game on a goal by Jesse Gamble a minute later. Both teams traded goals to finish the quarter making the score 2-2.
Toronto opened up a lead in the second quarter, rattling off three goals to start the period. Hickey buried two just four minutes into the quarter while Sanderson added the third making the score 5-2 with 7:30 left in the half. New England cut into the lead right before the half as they scored two of the final three goals of the frame. Mark Cockerton and Saunders each had goals sandwiched around another goal by Hickey for a half time score of 6-4.
The third quarter was a defensive battle as both teams could only muster one goal. The Black Wolves brought the score to one as Bucktooth scored a power play goal 7:30 into the period. The Rock pushed their lead back two as Hickey netted another goal making the score 7-5 heading into the final quarter.
New England was not able to get closer than two goals in the final period as Toronto held on for the win in its final regular season game.
Evan Kirk made a career-high 52 saves on 62 shots faced for the Black Wolves. Brandon Miller stopped 41 shots on 48 shots faced in goal for Toronto.
New England hits the road for their final game of the year, traveling to Buffalo on May 2nd to take on the Bandits. Game time is 7:30.