For the second year in a row, the once mighty Toronto Rock has started a season without a win in its opening three games.
Despite its best effort of this young campaign, the Rock fell 10-9 last night to the Philadelphia Wings in front of 11,292 spectators at the Wachovia Center.
The win was up for grabs entering the final frame, but the Wings outscored the Rock 2-1 in the quarter to preserve the victory.
Toronto went three-for-five on the power play, but gave Philadelphia 11 extra-man chances, and the Wings responded with three goals of its own.
"We were in a position to win, but got ourselves in a bit of penalty trouble at the wrong time," Rock coach Glenn Clark said in a phone interview.
The see-saw affair might have been decided on the strength of two super Philadelphia rookies outclassing one on the Rock's side.
Much of the talk before the game was about Philadelphia rookie sensation Geoff Snider, and the former Team Canada stalwart tallied both Wing scores in the fourth to upstage Rock sniper Ryan Benesch, who scored three times and added two assists after a four-goal outburst a week earlier.
Fellow freshman Athan Iannucci, who scored five times in the Friday's 16-11 victory over the New York Titans, was also a force for Philadelphia, matching Benesch's three-goal, two-assist performance.
It was Iannucci's third quarter natural hat trick after his club had fallen behind 6-4 that allowed the Wings to stay close enough to eventually pull out the victory.
Clark was impressed by the play of all three youngsters.
"Iannucci gave us a lot of trouble," he said. "Snider dominates on those draws and is a good overall player, but Benesch is the youngest out of those players and we're happy with his progress."