March 29, 2009

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Toronto Splits Pair; Edmonton Buoys Hopes

from press releases

The Edmonton Rush remained in the National Lacrosse League playoff picture with a record-breaking offensive explosion in a 16-12 win over the Torornto Rock Mar. 28 at Edmonton's Rexall Place.

With two desperate teams trying to sneak back into the playoff picture, it was the Rush, who improved to 4-8 on the season with the win, while Toronto fell to 5-8 in the loss. It was the second game in as many night for Toronto after the Rock defeated Calgary 12-10 Friday night at Pengrowth Saddledone.

In the victory, Edmonton pulled to within one-win behind the fourth-pace Minnesota Swarm (5-7) for the final playoff spot in the NLL's West Division.

Saturday in Edmonton, the Rush netted a club-high 16 goals for in and Andy Secore led the high-powered Rush attack with eight points on five goals and three assists, while Dan Teat (7A), Mike Hominuck (3G, 4A), Jimmy Quinlan (3G, 1A) and Rush newcomer Mike MacLeod had six assists in his debut.

"The O was just clicking. We had everybody firing," said Secore. "All the boys were getting goals. We had a lot of production from everybody.

"It was a must win for us. Now it's one game at a time and we have two games next weekend, so we just have to play like this and we'll be fine.

Toronto, led by Blaine Manning (1G, 5A) and Luke Wiles (3G, 2A), while Lewis Ratcliff (1G, 4A) chipped in with five points, were held to only two goals in the second half.

Chris Levis (3-3) earned the victory in net for Edmonton in relief of starter Brandon Atherton, while Steve Dietrich (1-5) was tagged with the loss for Toronto, despite making 44 saves in relief of recent player of the week Bob Watson.

Rush captain Chris McElroy pulled in 14 loose balls while Ian Hawksbee hauled in 12 and Chris McKay had 10 in the contest.

The Rock opened the scoring as Craig Conn parted the defense and found twine past Atherton at 4:05 and then just over a minute late Peter Lough scored a short-side goal, from Nick Carson to give Toronto a 2-0 lead.

Edmonton's Tyler Gibbons, in his first game of the season, tallied his first goal on a one-bouncer past Watson at 6:46 before Quinlan tied the score 55-seconds later, from Secore and Hominuck.

Wiles then put Toronto up 3-2 on a dynamic spinning goal while on the carpet at 8:01 before Secore notched the score, from Teat and Jamie Floris at 8:29.

The Rush then continued the run as Hominuck darted across the front of Watson and tucked it past after a double-stick fake at 8:51 for Edmonton's first lead of the game before McElroy collected the ball off the boards and fired it in at 9:18 to put Edmonton up 5-3, chasing Watson away after five goals on six shots.

In came former Rush 'tender Dietrich for Toronto and the Rock then rallied with a four-goal run in just over two-minutes as Ratcliff, Rob Marshall, Scott Campbell and Kasey Beirnes scored giving Toronto a 7-5 lead and chasing Atherton from the Rush net.

Edmonton's Quinlan, with his second tally of the night, a long-range sidewinder at 13:06 closed the scoring in the quarter.

The flurry of goals continued in the second-half as Toronto's Manning converted a long-feed from Chris Driscoll and beat Levis, while two-man down, 1:08 into the frame, for a two-goal lead before Edmonton's Secore sniped his second of the game, at 1:32 on the power-play before Floris fought off Cam Woods and fired past Dietrich at 2:23 tying the score at 8-8.

Toronto then went on another two-goal run as Beirnes and Wiles put the Rock up 10-8 before Edmonton answered back with three goals of its own including tallies by Floris, Secore and Quinlan's hat-trick marker, at 12:39, putting the Rush up 11-10 at half-time.

Edmonton outshot Toronto 35-15 after two quarters.

In the third quarter, Hominuck continued his hot hand, with his second goal and sixth point of the game, on a two-man advantage at 6:15 before Ian Hawksbee's unassisted marker, at 8:30, put Edmonton up by three goals.

Toronto's Conn, with a diving effort while battling a Rush defender, eluded Levis at 11:06, to pull the Rock back within a two-goal margin and then Wiles, from Manning and Ratcliff, fired a five-hole tally at 14:34 on the power-play to end the scoring after three quarters with a 13-12 Rush lead.

Andy Secore notched his fourth and fifth goals of the night in the fourth quarter, at 4:29 and 6:22 respectively, giving the Rush a three-goal lead once again, before Hominuck sniped his third goal of the night, going airborne to snag the ball and then fired it past Dietrich in close at 11:16 for a 16-12 lead to end the scoring.

Edmonton outshot Toronto 63-51.

The Rush next host the Portland Lumberjax Friday, April 3rd (7:00 p.m.) at Rexall Place.

FRIDAY

The Toronto Rock continued their surge in the second half of the season, defeating the Calgary Roughnecks 12-10 at Pengrowth Saddledome on Friday night. Lewis Ratcliff scored five goals as the Rock (5-7) won their third straight.

In the first quarter, former Roughneck Lewis Ratcliff scored the first two goals of the game, as Toronto took a 2-0 lead. For Calgary, former Rock player Kaleb Toth scored twice in the quarter. The game was tied 3-3 after the first quarter.

The Rock dominated the second quarter. Ratcliff and Kasy Biernes each scored twice, and Bob Watson stopped eight out of the ten shots faced. After the eighth Toront goal, the Roughnecks pulled starting goaltender Matt King and sent in Pat Campbell. Toronto led 9-5 at halftime.

The goaltending change proved effective. Campbell stopped all ten of the Rock shots on goal, while Toth and Dane Dobbie scored to bring Calgary to within two at 9-7.

In the fourth quarter, goals by Dobbie and Josh Sanderson tied the game at 9-9 with twelve minutes remaining. Midway through the fourth, Blaine Manning stepped up for the Rock, scoring two goals within a minute of each other. Moments later, Ratcliff scored his fifth goal of the game to give Toronto a 12-9 lead. That was more than enough for Watson and the Rock defense, en route to the 12-10 victory.

With the win, Toronto improves to 5-7 and continues their second half of the season revival. The Rock are now tied for fourth place, percentage points behind Rochester (4-6).

Despite the loss, Calgary (8-3) can still clinch a playoff berth this weekend, with a win on Saturday and at least one San Jose loss, or with two San Jose losses and an Edmonton loss.

Both teams will be back in action on Saturday night. Toronto heads north to face the Edmonton Rush, while Calgary heads east to face the Minnesota Swarm.


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