Shearer strikes with OT winner

RYAN WOLSTAT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

The Toronto Rock relied on perseverance, a potent power play and an unlikely hero for a thrilling 11-10 overtime victory over the Rochester Knighthawks last night at the Air Canada Centre.

Slumping forward Matt Shearer, benched for the National Lacrosse League team's previous game in Calgary after an uninspiring five goal start to the season, reeled off three goals in a row, including the overtime winner 24 seconds in, to lead the Rock (3-4) to its third consecutive win.

"I'm pretty proud of (Shearer) because he has been in the doghouse for a while and I was in his face during the game and he told me where to put it," Rock general manager/coach Terry Sanderson said.

With the win, the Rock inched closer to the East Division pack, but remains last in the tough five-team group, a game behind the Minnesota Swarm (4-3) for the final playoff spot. Nevertheless, Shearer was a happy man.

"We need everybody to step up and it was great to be able to do that (last night)," he said.

The Rock battled back from 3-0 and 5-1 deficits and trailed 10-8 in the fourth quarter until Shearer's heroics brought Toronto even for the first time since the opening draw.

DISHEARTENED

Rochester coach Ed Comeau was disheartened that his club (4-2) couldn't seal the victory.

"It's a loss against a divisional rival on the road and that hurts," Comeau said.

Rock goalie Bob Watson was spectacular in the fourth and throughout the game, making 33 saves to keep his squad close against the best team in the NLL entering play last night.

Rochester, a 14-9 winner at home against Toronto earlier this season, exploded for three goals before many of the 16,235 in attendance had settled into their seats.

The pace of the contest picked up noticeably in the second quarter as John Grant and Mike Accursi extended the Knighthawks' lead to 5-1.

Shortly after that, the suddenly clicking Rock power play -- 5-for-8 on the night -- erupted as the team closed the gap to 5-4 heading into the second half.

The game picked up steam in the second half. Rock captain Jim Veltman, playing with a chip on his shoulder all night, took a rare penalty for a cross-check to the head. Defenceman Dan Ladouceur got into a spirited scrap with Shawn Evans following Rochester's ninth goal of the night.

Doyle scored with 3.9 seconds remaining in the third to make it 9-8 and set up the frantic finish.

The Rock will reach the halfway mark of the schedule after a game tonight in Edmonton against the winless Rush.


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