Revenge time for ex-Rocks

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

After a rocky season on and off the floor, Steve Toll has a chance to erase all the bad memories and exact a little revenge in the process. The ex-Toronto Rock fan favourite is on top of his game again, just in time to return to his old stamping ground with the Rochester Knighthawks for the National Lacrosse League's East Division final.

The speedy transitional ace played a key role for the Hawks in a 19-14 East semi-final win over the Buffalo Bandits last night at HSBC Arena, setting up a Rochester-Toronto East final Friday at the Air Canada Centre.

"I think I deserve to go back to Toronto after all the time I put in for that team," Toll, 30, said. "I played my heart out for six hard years and gave that team everything I had. I'm happy to be going back, but my work isn't done yet."

Shipped to the San Jose Stealth by the Rock in a blockbuster off-season trade, the Oshawa resident struggled with the lengthy weekend flights and had just 12 points in 12 games for the lowly Stealth. But since arriving in Rochester at the trade deadline, Toll has been a force. He had 10 points in five regular season games and used his speed to notch a spectacular short-handed goal on the breakaway last night to go along with two assists and countless steals.

"I don't like to blame it on the five-hour flights, but it took its toll on me," Toll, one of five members of the 2004 Rock now with the Knighthawks, said. "I'm not 23 and I couldn't live down in San Jose. If I could have lived there, I think I would have been a different player."

Toll's goal made it 4-1 last night and his first assist was a lovely pass to John Grant for the opening goal. That big start was critical as the Bandits rallied from a 10-3 deficit to cut the gap to 13-12. But Buffalo never could tie it.

"It's pretty important that we got (Toll) in here," Hawks coach Paul Day said.

"He's got great playoff experience and he's a huge competitor.

Toll played for the Rock in all three of their championship game wins over the Hawks -- 1999, 2000 and 2003. The Hawks (11-6) are 2-1 against the Rock (12-4) this season.


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