April 2, 2016- Vancouver, BC- The Toronto Rock knocked off the Vancouver Stealth for a second time this season by a final score of 13-11 on Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre. Coming into the game, both teams were 3-9 on the year and still battling for a playoff spot. Tyler Richards started in net for the Stealth, while Nick Rose played for the Rock.
The Stealth opened the scoring at 2:08 with Justin Salt scoring his third goal of the season. After Richards made a save off a Rock forward, Jeff Moleski fired a long pass down the floor to Salt in front of the Toronto net, who made no mistake beating Rose between the legs. With 6:37 to play, Joel McCready notched his 19th goal of the season on a Stealth power play to make it 2-0. Keegan Bal made the whole play happen creating a turnover in front of the net and eventually got it to McCready near the goal. With less than five minutes to go, Toronto got their first of the night off the stick of Kasey Beirnes during a five on three Rock power play. At the 13:56 mark, the Rock evened the score with another power play goal courtesy of Rob Hellyer, as he beat Richards on a breakaway. The game remained tied 2-2 going into the second quarter, with Toronto leading the shot count 15-9.
32 seconds into the second quarter, Stephan Leblanc scored Toronto’s third straight power play goal to give the Rock their first lead of the game. With 11:20 to play, Turner Evans registered the Rock’s fourth straight marker beating Richards with a quick stick off the right post. The two goal game would not last long, as Corey Small capitalized on a Stealth power play with a long range shot that beat Rose over the left arm. Duch had the only helper on Small’s 26th goal of the year. However, the Rock would reclaim their two goal lead getting a shorthanded tally from Brodie Merrill at 6:36 of the second quarter. On that same Stealth man advantage, Duch got that goal right back, scoring his first of the game and team leading 34th goal of the season with a perfectly placed shot into the top left corner. Small had the only assist. Under a minute later, Thomas Hoggarth buried his third goal in three games, as he found room in tight on the Toronto goaltender and tied up the score at 5-5. Salt and Duch were in on the assists. At 11:12, Rhys Duch hit a milestone recording his 300th career NLL goal. After Richards made a stop, Curtis Hodsgon let go of a long pass to Duch, who was all by himself in the Rock zone and fired quick shot stick-side on Rose. Hodgson and Richards had the assists. At the half, Vancouver led the game 6-5, but were being outshot 30-22. Duch led all players in the game with 2 goals and 3 assists.
To begin the second half, the Rock got off to a fast start with Jesse Gamble scoring on a rebound just 39 seconds in. 15 seconds later, Thomas Hoggarth replied on the ensuing face-off for the Stealth with a beautiful diving goal in transition for his second of the night. Travis Cornwall had the lone assist. The string of early third quarter goals continued, as Rob Hellyer tied it up at 7-7 with his second of the game at the 1:42 mark. However, the Stealth got their one goal advantage back thanks to Joel McCready’s second of the game. Mitch McMichael set it all up with a great no-look, cross-floor feed to the stick side of Rose. Duch had the secondary helper for his 399th career assist. The back and forth play continued, as Dan Lintner and Kasey Beirnes registered back to back markers to put Toronto on top 9-8 with just over six minutes to play. With 5:20 to go, McCready registered the hat-trick with a highlight reel goal. As the shot clock was winding down, McCready took the ball hard to the net from the right corner with defenders draped all over him and outwaited Rose, who went down on both knees. Bal and Jordan Durston had the assists on McCready’s 21st tally of the season. After three quarters, the game was tied at 9-9 with Toronto leading the shot count 39-35.
Rob Hellyer made it 11-9 Rock early in the fourth quarter getting two straight goals before the four-minute mark. Cliff Smith answered with his second of the season at 4:29, as he fired a low shot through the legs of Rose. McCready and Small earned the assists. Less than a minute later, Rhys Duch hit another milestone registering his 700th career point with his third goal of the game. Duch found a pass on the left side of the floor and let go of a hard shot over the left shoulder of Rose. Smith and Hodgson helped out with the assists on the game tying marker. After Joel McCready was ejected from the game for instigating a fight, Josh Sanderson scored his first of the game on a Toronto power play to put them ahead at 12-11. Just over a minute later, Leblanc scored the last goal of the evening with a long range shot and made it a 13-11 final.
Rob Hellyer led the game in scoring with 4 goals and 5 assists, while Duch finished behind him with 3 goals and 4 assists. For Duch, it was his third straight game recording seven or more points. The two top power plays in the NLL did not disappoint, as the Rock finished 5-7 on the night and was the difference for them, while the Stealth were 3-3.
The Stealth begin a home and home set with the Calgary Roughnecks beginning next Saturday, April 9 at Scotiabank Saddledome at 6:00pm PST. On April 16, the Stealth play host to the Roughnecks at the Langley Events Centre at 7:00pm PST.
FINAL SCORE: Rock 13 – Stealth 11, SHOTS ON GOAL: Rock 53 – Stealth 43 LOOSE BALLS: Rock 83 – Stealth 62, FACE-OFFS: Rock 20-28 – Stealth 8-28, POWERPLAY: Stealth 3-3, Rock 5-7.