Rock roll over Wings

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

It takes more than a little travel adversity to derail the Toronto Rock. In a true sign of character, the Rock moved within one win of locking up first overall in the 10-team National Lacrosse League after a terrible flight to Philadelphia yesterday.

After its arrival was delayed three hours and the airline lost the equipment of five players, the Rock (10-3) beat the Wings 17-15 last night to clinch a playoff berth for the seventh season in a row. The game was re-scheduled for last night after a snow storm wiped out the tilt Jan. 22.

"Those are a bunch of warriors," said Rock general manager/coach Terry Sanderson, whose team was coming off a 16-10 win over the visiting Calgary Roughnecks Friday night.

"The airline didn't get us down here until 5 p.m., we had five guys playing in rented or new equipment and we had maybe a 20-25 minute warmup. It was an awful day of travel and these guys just showed another way of winning."

Winners of five games in a row, the Rock needs just one victory in its final three games to claim a bye to the East Division final and home-floor advantage throughout the playoffs. The Wings (6-7), on the brink of playoff elimination, play host to the Rock again Saturday before coming to the Air Canada Centre the next day. The Rock's season finale is April 17 in Calgary against the Roughnecks.

"It's a nice spot to be in," said Rock star Colin Doyle, who notched a game-high 11 points (three goals, eight assists) to give him 88 points on the season, just four behind NLL scoring leader John Tavares of the Buffalo Bandits.

"But the last thing we want to be doing after last year (when the Rock lost its final two regular-season games and the East final) is going (into the playoffs) not playing the way we should be. We have to focus on winning the rest of our games."

The Rock erased an 8-5 halftime deficit by scoring a season-best nine goals in the third quarter and outscoring Philly 9-3. Toronto, which matched its win total from last season, also tied a season-high with 12 goals in the second half.

"We didn't want to make any excuses," said Rock defender Chris Driscoll, one of the players to lose his equipment. "It was just a matter of digging down."

The Buffalo Bandits (9-5) also clinched a playoff spot with the Rock's win. Odds are the Bandits will play host to the Rochester Knighthawks (8-6) in the East semi-final on April 23.


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