Rock top Panther City to remain unbeaten
The Toronto Rock (2-0) defeated Panther City (1-2) by a score of 13-10 on Friday night at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, TX. It was a fourth quarter surge that pushed the Rock to the road victory to remain undefeated on the young season.
With Tom Schreiber still on the Injured Reserve List, it’s been up to off-season acquisitions Mark Matthews and Christ Boushy to lead the way offensively and they certainly did that on Friday night, each scoring three times.
“I think the message on the bench was, what's next, and not really getting too down if they put one in the back of the net,” explained Boushy. “Lacrosse is a relatively high scoring game. You walk into the rink before the game and you know you're going to get scored on, so just putting that behind you right away. It's the best thing for your own mental approach to the game.”
The Rock had a very similar start in this game on the scoreboard as was the case in the team’s home opener back on December 9th. Panther City built a 3-1 lead, but the Rock battled back with a pair of their own to tie the score 3-3. The home side potted one more before the end of the frame to lead to the Rock 4-3 after one quarter. This game did begin with some early fisticuffs as Rock defender Josh Jubenville engaged Panther City’s Liam Patten in a spirited scrap just 1:49 into the game.
In the second quarter, the Rock quickly erased the one-goal deficit and scored four straight goals to lead 7-4. The final three tallies came over a 3:43 span later in the quarter, including a virtuoso drive to the cage by Rock captain Challen Rogers, sticking the ball in the top corner. Panther City got one back before the half, but the Rock led 7-5 at the break.
An early double-minor penalty assessed to Panther City put the Rock on a four-minute power play, and the visitors certainly capitalized, striking for a pair of man-up goals to lead 9-5. The Rock offence was stalled for the remainder of the quarter, meanwhile Panther City would rattle off a pair of goals to draw back to within two, trailing 9-7 after three quarters.
The Panther City run continued with three more goals giving them a 10-9 lead, their first advantage since the end of the first quarter. The Mailman delivered back-to-back goals just 21 seconds apart to restore the Rock lead 11-10 and completing the hat trick for Matthews. Corey Small scored a textbook Corey Small catch-and-release goal and the Rock shifted to shut down mode to preserve the lead. Boushy scored an empty netter to round out the scoring. Rogers assisted on three of the Rock’s final four goals of the game.
“We were definitely having a little bit of trouble up front to start,” said Small.
“They were pressing us, carrying the ball over centre, and caused us a little bit of trouble. It made us play a little bit faster than we probably needed to. It took us about a quarter to get the offence going, but fortunately for us, we have such a solid transition team that our defence was able to carry the load in the back end and put some balls in it for us to get us going.”
Nick Rose earned his second win of the season, stopping 43 of the 53 shots he faced. Nick Damude made 39 saves in the loss for the home team. Panther City outshot the Rock 53-52.
The Rock were 2-for-2 on the power play while Panther City was 3-for-4 with the man advantage.