Rock rolls over Roughnecks

RYAN WOLSTAT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:10 AM ET

It took six games, but the Rock finally played like defending National Lacrosse League champions, posting a 14-10 victory over the Calgary Roughnecks yesterday.

The Rock controlled the play in what was its best performance of the season.

Rock coach/general manager Terry Sanderson said in a telephone interview after the game that while the 14 goals were fine, it was a defence that surrendered a season-low three first-half goals that was key.

"We were just pounding people," Sanderson said. "We knocked a lot of people off balls today. That style of game is what people know us for."

Veteran Rock goaltender Bob Watson stopped 39 of 49 shots in his second straight outstanding performance. Sniper Blaine Manning, with a five-goal, seven-point night, also appears to be rounding into form after a slow start.

Toronto, now 2-4, stormed to a 3-1 lead after one quarter. The Roughnecks cut the lead to 3-2, but the Rock reeled off three goals in a row to chase Curtis Palidwor from the Calgary net. When Aaron Wilson scored on the first shot against backup Andrew Leyshon for a 7-2 Rock lead, it looked like the rout was on, but Calgary cut the deficit to three late in the third quarter.

Josh Sanderson had eight points and Colin Doyle added six.

Early in the game, Rock captain Jim Veltman picked up his 2,000th career MILL/NLL loose ball, extending his remarkable professional lacrosse record.

Calgary, the 2004 NLL champions, has consistently ranked as one of the league's best teams, but the Rock now is 8-2 against the Roughnecks.

Despite that statistic, Sanderson knows this was not an easy game.

"This was a quality and character win," Sanderson said. "Not too many people beat these guys out here."

The Rock play host to the NLL-leading Rochester Nighthawks at the ACC Friday, before flying to Edmonton for a Saturday night date with the Rush.


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