Rock goalie returns to form

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:20 AM ET

Bob Watson still can whip it good. The Toronto Rock goaltender, nicknamed Whipper, returned to top form last night to lead his team to a 15-9 win over the expansion Minnesota Swarm at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

The Rock (3-2) snapped a two-game National Lacrosse League losing streak, giving Toronto some momentum heading into a tough game tonight against the rested Calgary Roughnecks (4-2) at the Air Canada Centre.

The Swarm's goal total was the lowest for a Rock opponent this season. The Rock outshot the Swarm 51-40.

"We've made some adjustments to our defence and the boys did a tremendous job keeping them outside," said Watson, who made 30 saves and then earned a well-deserved rest when he was replaced by Phil Wetherup with the Rock ahead 14-7 in the fourth quarter.

"When they do that, you make some saves."

Watson held the Swarm off the scoreboard for a span of 22:16 between the first and third quarters, allowing Toronto to open an 8-4 lead.

Watson had struggled this season, carrying a lofty 13.71 goals-against average and an unimpressive .722 save percentage into last night's game.

"Defensively, we were pretty good and Bobby was big," Rock general manager/coach Terry Sanderson said.

"He had some good minutes for us."

With the win, the Rock swept the season series against the Swarm (2-4) and moved into a tie for second place in the East Division with the Rochester Knighthawks. Last month, the Rock beat Minnesota 19-15 in Toronto.

Colin Doyle led the Rock with four goals. Aaron Wilson and diminutive Josh Sanderson had three goals apiece for Toronto, to the chagrin of Swarm general manager Marty O'Neill.

On the Minnesota-based television broadcast last night, O'Neill said, "Josh Sanderson does a good job of falling down whenever he's touched."

Perhaps O'Neill was frustrated with his team's penalty problems as the Rock scored four first-half power-play goals.

"That's all right," Josh Sanderson said when informed of O'Neill's comments. "I got under their skin a bit and that's fine."

Sanderson and Doyle each had nine points for the Rock.

The Swarm was missing leading scorer Craig Conn, who was out with a leg injury. But Toronto did not have regular forwards Matt Shearer (ribs) and Rusty Kruger (knee).


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