Rock bruises Wings in OT

RYAN WOLSTAT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

Toronto Rock players are quickly becoming Toronto's cardiac kids.

Following a thrilling 11-10 overtime triumph over the Rochester Knighthawks at home two weeks ago, the Rock stormed back late at the Air Canada Centre to force sudden-death, before winning 12-11 behind Aaron Wilson's fifth goal of the contest.

"Fans, don't go away, because it's never over until it's over here," Rock goaltender Bob Watson said.

On an evening when the life and achievements of Les Bartley, the late Rock coach, were honoured with a commemorative banner, many Rock players said they dug down deep to get one for their much-loved former leader.

"Les is the reason I'm here ... I think about him a lot," Wilson said.

"Everybody that he has coached before has a piece of him inside," added Rock captain Jim Veltman, winner of four championships in Toronto under Bartley.

After managing a season-low three goals in the opening half and an almost two-quarter scoring slump, the Rock found itself trailing 6-3 early in the third quarter. Toronto then scored six in a row to take a 9-6 lead in the fourth.

However, Philadelphia rallied with five unanswered goals to re-take the lead, 11-9.

Josh Sanderson and Brian Beisel scored in the final minute and a half to send the game to overtime.

The first half was a tale of two quarters. The Rock controlled the play in the opening minutes in building a 3-1 lead, but Philadelphia found its game in the slower paced second frame, reeling off four straight for a 5-3 advantage at the half.

Philadelphia head coach Lindsay Sanderson said it was tough to lose killing a penalty in overtime.

"It's a hard one, the guy's deserved better," Sanderson said. "The nice thing about it is we get them back at home next Saturday. Hopefully we can return the favour."

The Rock also forced OT with a late goal in the season-opener against the Arizona Sting, ultimately a loss.

"That might be just the book we're writing this year," Rock coach/GM Terry Sanderson said of his team's propensity to decide games in the waning moments.

HALL HONOURS

Before the game, the crowd saluted the league's inaugural Hall of Fame class, which includes Bartley, players Paul and Gary Gait and league founders Chris Fritz and Russ Cline.


Videos

Photos