As first impressions go, it wasn't pretty.
A lackadaisical new-look Rock team got out of the gate slowly in falling to the Rochester Knighthawks 10-6 last night in front of 10,321 at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y.
Knighthawks goaltender Pat O'Toole was outstanding, making 51 saves, in holding the Rock to a franchise-low six goals for the second time in two years. Rochester beat Toronto 15-6 back in January of 2005.
O'Toole added insult to injury by coupling his brilliant play in net with three spectacular breakaway passes that led to Knighthawks goals.
Surprisingly, new Rock head coach Glenn Clark was upbeat despite the loss.
"We're not happy, but you draw positives," Clark said. "We created some chances. We out loose-balled them (78-71) and played well defensively. We made some mental, opening-game mistakes, but we're coming back. It's a long season."
The Rock, playing its first game of the year, looked the part, getting off to a listless start, in being outshot 15-7 and falling behind 4-0 in the first.
Rochester already was playing for the third time this season.
Ex-Rock stalwart Steve Toll was a thorn in the Rock's side all night, collecting two breakaway goals, along with nine loose balls.
Toronto outscored Rochester 4-1 in the fourth quarter to make the final score look a lot closer than the game actually was.
Goaltender Bob Watson was the best player on the floor for the Rock, making 42 saves and keeping his team in a game it often simply didn't seem interested in competing in.
O'Toole was nearly unbeatable in the first half, allowing just one goal, a new franchise low for the Rock.
Aaron Wilson scored three goals and added an assist for Toronto. Reigning National Lacrosse League scoring leader Josh Sanderson added four points.
Ryan Benesch, the headliner acquired in the Colin Doyle deal, had little impact in his first NLL contest, collecting one assist, while fellow newcomers Chad Thompson and Kevin Fines were among Toronto's top players, but could not beat O'Toole despite combining for ten shots.
Shawn Evans led Rochester with three goals and an assist, while O'Toole, John Grant Jr. and Shawn Williams added three points apiece.
The two teams meet again next Saturday at the ACC.