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Rose's solid second half lifts Rock to win over Knighthawks

The Canadian Press

1/26/2013 10:02:27 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Nick Rose did it again.

Only one shot eluded Toronto's goalie in the second half as the Rock pulled away to an 11-7 victory over the Rochester Knighthawks on Saturday night. Back home 24 hours earlier, he'd blanked Minnesota in the fourth quarter as his teammates rallied to beat the Swarm 13-12.

The two wins boosted Toronto to 4-1 for first place in the National Lacrosse League's East Division.

"What can I say?" captain Colin Doyle said in stalling to search for adjectives to describe Rose's efforts. "He was outstanding and he's been outstanding all year. He was fantastic.

"It was a big weekend for us. We got a big come-from-behind win at home and to come down here and win again against the defending champions was pretty impressive."

Toronto led 5-2 after one quarter, it was 6-6 at halftime and 7-6 for the Rock when the fourth quarter started. Toronto led 8-7 when Josh Sanderson scored two goals 26 seconds apart to give the Rock breathing room.

"It was nice for those two to go in," said Sanderson. "I was getting good looks all night and they weren't fallin' but they fell at the right time. It was a great weekend for us. Everybody chipped in."

Especially Rose. Rochester outshot Toronto 48-43.

"We played a full 60 minutes," he said. "I think we outplayed them, to be straight up. We stuck with our game plan all game and it worked out. We're real excited to get both wins this weekend."

How did he manage to hold the defending champions to only one goal in the second half?

"To be honest, I'm not sure," he offered. "They have a great offence and they like to shoot the ball. Our D really stepped it up in the second half. We kinda got into a good groove and it just continued for 30 minutes. It wasn't easy because they have a great offence but we just played our game and it worked out."

Toronto also got two goals from each of Garrett Billings and Kasey Beirnes and one from each of Doyle, Stephan Leblanc, Scott Evans, Rob Hellyer and Cam Woods, who scored into an empty net with 15 seconds left after being fed a breakaway pass from Rose.

"It couldn't be any better," Billings said of the capper to the big weekend. "You've got to be impressed by our boys on the back end. They really earned that win for us. It took our offence a while to get going but Josh stepped up late to get two big goals for us. But you've really got to hang (credit) on our defence."

Rose has won 10 of his 13 starts since being acquired from Calgary last winter. He'd never previously started an NLL game.

"When we broke down, Rosie was there to make some big saves," coach Troy Cordingley said of his goalie's latest heroics.

Cody Jamieson scored three goals for Rochester (0-3). Cory Vitarelli had two goals while Johnny Powless and Brad Self one each.

"For the most part, we played decent other than a couple of letdowns," said Jamieson. "There's nothing to panic about. We're three games into the season and just like every other team we've got to get better."

Matt Vinc took the goaltending loss.

"It's not a good way to start the year but I think we're getting closer to the way we want to play," said Vinc. "I don't think we've done that yet, and it has cost us. A couple of lapses and that's the difference (Saturday) and hopefully we can correct that before we get too far to where we can't catch up. Hopefully, next week brings a better result. We've just got to keep working hard."

NOTES: Rochester was 2-for-5 on power plays and Toronto went 2-for-7 . . . Billings had three assists . . . Blue Cross Arena attendance was 5,762 . . . Toronto deleted D Damon Edwards, D Scott Johnston and F Brandon Ivey . . . Rochester scratched F Mike Accursi, F Alex Kedoh Hill and D Jamie Batson . . . Toronto's next game is Saturday at Buffalo . . . Rochester plays its third straight home game Saturday against Washington.