Rock solid in downing Roughnecks

DARREN FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

CALGARY -- Calgary Roughnecks coach Chris Hall had a clear message for his players heading into their two game set with the Toronto Rock: Score on 'em and stop 'em.

The message apparently fell on deaf ears last night as the Roughnecks did neither in their 12-9 loss to the Rock.

Once again, the Roughnecks' offence couldn't find the holes and the defence, including goaltenders Andrew Leyshon and Ryan Avery, let the Rock have its way all night.

Following this performance, Hall had a secondary message, which was heard loud and clear.

"We've got a group of players that's not displaying that they can win at this level," Hall said. "We've now got to ask ourselves, do we have the personnel to win at this level?"

The loss moves the Roughnecks to .500 on the season (4-4) and extends their losing streak to three games.

For the Rock, the victory is its fourth in row.

From beginning to end, the Rock owned the Roughnecks last night.

The Rock got outstanding performances from goaltender Bob Watson (53 saves), Josh Sanderson (four goals and four assists) and Aaron Wilson (four goals and three assists). Chad Thompson, Chris Driscoll, Ryan Benesch and Blaine Manning each had a goal for Toronto.

The two teams meet again tonight (7:30, Sportsnet) at the Air Canada Centre to complete a gruelling home-and-home series.

The trip out to Calgary, meanwhile, almost turned into a double delight for Benesch, the NLL's No. 1 overall pick this past fall. He nearly got to meet Jarome Iginla.

It's rare in this day and age to meet someone from Ontario who is a Calgary Flames fan, but such is the case with Benesch.

"I really wanted to meet Jarome Iginla. He's my favourite hockey player," the Kitchener native said prior to last night's game.

"I'm a Flames fan ... well, I'm actually just a Flames fan because they've got Iginla. If he was somewhere else, I'd probably cheer for them."

Iginla was at the Saddledome yesterday for an off-ice workout, but the two never crossed paths.

At this point in his rookie campaign, Benesch has put up a modest 11 goals and 21 points, something he is not pleased with.

However, the 22-year-old is still adjusting to the pro game and the pressure that comes with playing in the game's biggest market. He was acquired in the off-season from San Jose in a blockbuster trade that sent Rock mainstay and former league MVP Colin Doyle to the west coast.

"It's a lot of pressure because people expected a lot out of Colin and now they expect the same from me," Benesch said.


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