Rock Offense Goes Quiet in Loss to Buffalo

Toronto, ON The Toronto Rock (8-8) fell victim to a 9-0 run by the Buffalo Bandits (6-9) en route to dropping a key East Division match-up 13-8 on Friday night at Air Canada Centre. The Rock loss makes the tight playoff race in the East, even tighter with just two games left in the regular season for Toronto.

"Overall, we just weren't very good from start to finish," said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer. "I thought if we were a bit better in the first half, the spread would have been more than 6-3. We talk about playing a full 60 minutes and we saw one get away from us. We need to get better in a lot of areas and we weren't good enough tonight."

Billy Hostrawser, who was awarded the Les Bartley award prior to the game, got the Rock on the board with an unassisted tally at 4:17. Reid Reinholdt dodged a defender on an odd-man rush to put the Rock up 2-0 at 9:09 and the Rock surged on. Brett Hickey scored on the power play at 10:58 and Kieran McArdle at 11:33, that goal the result of hard work by Kasey Beirnes who stick-checked David Brock in front of the Bandits net. The ball popped loose and rolled by Anthony Cosmo.

Captain Brodie Merrill scored a pair in the second quarter; first after Nick Rose hit him with the long-bomb pass; exactly a minute later he then finished a three-on-two rush. Anthony Malcom bookended the quarter with tallies for the Bandits and Mitch Jones also scored but the Rock led 6-3 at the half.

Toronto lost an edge in the second. Buffalo outscored the Rock 6-0 in the third quarter, putting them on top 9-6 after three quarters. Ryan Benesch scored two with singles to Dhane Smith, Blaze Riorden, Mark Steenhuis and Malcom who completed the hat trick.

Buffalo and Toronto traded goals to start the fourth Steenhuis, Hickey, Smith and Reinholdt all scored their second goals of the contest. Jones and Smith each then scored empty-net goals with 1:54 and 1:01 to go for Buffalo, respectively.

The Rock will close out the regular season with a pair of road games, the first being next Saturday night in Saskatoon against the back-to-back defending champion, Saskatchewan Rush.

2017-04-15



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