Toronto,ON- Nobody expected a friendly affair between the Vancouver Warriors and Toronto Rock. The two cities hate each other, both teams are in a playoff race and they represent opposite ends of the lacrosse spectrum. The Rock, one of the most successful clubs, and the Warriors who have yet to win in Vancouver.
From the beginning, it was as one would expect, although one thing did aid the nature of the game. The referees, who clearly noticed the rough play let the two teams continue at even strength as they kept the game competitive and exciting throughout the evening.
As has been coming throughout Toronto’s season, the first quarter offered very little in the way of scoring. Although it did give a hint more than usual. The Rock got on the board first, but it was the 1-1 tying goal which was notable. Vancouver’s Joel McCready, a former Cornell student, spun his way off his defender, before feeding the ball into the Rock net. Although his goal, the eighth of the season, did not stand with much importance, as Toronto forward Dan Dawson quickly regained the lead for the hosts. At the end of the first quarter, it was as tight as anybody could have imagined with the score tied at two, and shots knotted at 12 apiece.
McCready got himself his second of the night in the first minutes of the second, with the assist going to fan favourite Logan Schuss, who also picked up his second point of the evening.
The game continued to be a back and forth affair, but it took until it was 4-4 for the first CUFLA marker to be made. It was the fourth goal for the Rock, which was scored by Western University’s Reid Reinholdt. The former Mustang also scored in last week’s win over the Buffalo Bandits, making his scoring streak three consecutive games. His goal seemingly opened the floodgates for the Rock who scored another three before the half, all unanswered, including two more assists from Reinholdt, which ended the second half at 7-4 for the Rock.
After the break, one would have assumed that Vancouver head coach Chris Gill would have given some stick to his team for their lack of goalscoring. We’ll never know what happened inside the locker room, however, we do know that whatever it was, did not work. The Rock continued to run up the score, while the Warriors seemed comfortable down at five goals.
The third quarter was the longest quarter of the game, as there were four different goal reviews between the two sides. Vancouver failed to score, but the score continued to grow, and the stars of the Rock continued to shine. By the time the buzzer went to signify the end of three, real estate agent/ lacrosse player Rob Hellyer had put up a hat trick and two assists.
Trailing by their own score (5 goals), the Warriors were in tough to come back in the fourth quarter. Despite valiant efforts, Vancouver continued to be outplayed by Toronto in the final frame. They did get a pair of goals from Jordan McBride and Mitch Jones, two of the veteran leaders.
While the Warriors two goals did not come from CUFLA players, one of the Rock’s did. The 11th goal of the night came from the CUFLA midfielder of the year, Scott Dominey, who caught Vancouver netminder Eric Penney out of position and scored with one hand.
In the dying moments of the game, more CUFLA talent came to the forefront. Rather than keeping the reliable Nick Rose in net for the final three minutes, Toronto Rock head coach MattSawyer chose to throw Western University alumni Riley Hutchcraft between the pipes. Hutchcraft did well in his first few minutes of the season, could it suggest a debut start next week? We’ll have to wait and see.
The score ended 17-4, with two CUFLA players making a mark on the scoresheet. After the game, The Warriors locker room was silent.
Vancouver head coach Chris Gill was extremely candid in his post-game comments, We looked around the room and we couldn’t pick a player of the ga,e. It’s the first time in two years that we couldn’t even pick a player who kept us moving and kept us rolling.”
Gill’s words and the vibe inside the Warriors locker room could not have been more different than the feeling inside the Toronto room. Head coach Matt Sawyer was ecstatic of his team’s performance, especially happy with the six goals from Rob Hellyer, who also had his bobblehead given out to fans pregame.
The Rock now leave the friendly confines of Scotiabank Arena after three straight wins. It will be a quick return to Alterna Cup action for the Torontonians, as they travel to Halifax to take on the Thunderbirds next week.