Wings get Rocked at home

DAVID W. UNKLE -- Special to SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 7:15 AM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- The Rock came into the Wachovia Center on a mission.

Following Friday night's emotional 16-10 victory over the defending champion Calgary Roughnecks, Toronto wanted to end the weekend with a pair of victories and a playoff birth.

Similar to last night's 7-2 second half run, the Rock used nine goals in the decisive third period to overcome an 8-5 halftime deficit en route to a 17-15 win over the Philadelphia Wings.

With the victory, the Rock (10-3) clinched a playoff birth and need only one win in their remaining three games to secure the best overall record in the National Lacrosse League.

The Philadelphia Wings dropped to 6-7 and are on the verge of missing the playoffs for the third consecutive season.

Toronto jumped out to an early 2-1 before surrendering three unanswered goals to end the first quarter.

"In the first quarter, "I felt like the wind may have been out of sails," said forward Colin Doyle.

"We were really dragging our asses but we came in at halftime and knew we had a chance here to do our part."

Toronto wasted little time getting on the board in the second half.

With Jeff Ratcliffe still in the box for goaltender interference at the end of the second quarter, Matt Shearer took a feed from Blaine Manning at 00:41.

The teams combined to score five goals in a span of 2:02 as the Wings took a 10-8 lead.

Toronto responded with five goals, including a pair by Aaron Wilson, in the next 4:11 to put the game away.

Doyle finished with three goals and eight assists on the night and now has 18 goals and 39 points, as the Rock won their fifth consecutive game.

The potent Rock offense boasts three of the league's top six offensive players in Doyle, Blaine Manning, and Josh Sanderson.

The trio accounted for nine goals and twenty-eight combined points in tonight's contest.

"We were surprised that we were able to dominate the way we did in the third quarter," said Doyle.

Tom Marechek, playing in his next to last regular season home game for the Wings, collected four goals and four assists.

Philadelphia made things interesting when Jeff Ratcliffe scored with 1:53 left in regulation to narrow the score to 17-15.

With the extra attacker, goalie Bob Watson came up with three big saves as time expired.

Watson finished with 44 saves in winning his tenth game of the year.

"Our goal coming into the season was to finish first in our division and hopefully first overall," added Doyle.

With one win in their remaining regular season contests, that goal becomes a reality.

The Rock face the Wings twice next weekend before closing out the season against the Minnesota Swarm.

David W. Unkle is a freelance sports writer and frequent contributor to SLAM! Sports. His work appears on several news outlets along with hosting The Topcat Sports Show in the Philadelphia market. David can be contacted via the Show's website at http://www.topcatsports.org or topcatsports@canoemail.com.


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