Rock hoping home sure is sweet against Knighthawks

RYAN WOLSTAT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:29 AM ET

Sooner or later the road team is going to get another win in the Rock-Rochester Knighthawk rivalry, but 17,000 people hope it won't be tonight at the ACC.

That's the number of fans Rock president Brad Watters expects to see at tonight's home opener.

Much has been made of the Rock's dismal record at Rochester's Blue Cross Arena -- the team is now 1-12 there following last weekend's 10-6 set-back. But Rochester is an equally unimpressive 2-10 in Toronto since 1999, and hasn't beaten the Rock on the road in two years.

"It's a homer series for sure," Rock assistant captain Blaine Manning said.

Toronto got off to a brutal start last Saturday and managed just two goals heading into the fourth quarter.

Head coach Glenn Clark said he saw many encouraging signs in that contest. The Rock outscored Rochester 4-1 in the final frame, but couldn't claw back against Knighthawk goaltender Pat O'Toole, who was exceptional in making 51 stops.

Manning said the Rock needs to work harder offensively.

"We need to move the ball a bit better and bury the chances we get," Manning said.

The Rock averaged 15,338 a night last season, well ahead of the league's average of 10,718.

Watters said the revamped Rock's ticket sales are slightly behind last season's --when the squad was coming off a championship -- and admitted the team is in a tough position drawing the tough Knighthawks early.

"We need to do a good job as an organization of providing entertainment," he said.

"Realistically, we're still a good team, we're just starting off the first two games against the best team in the league."


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