Rock solid

RYAN WOLSTAT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:14 AM ET

The Philadelphia Wings were in last night's game against the Toronto Rock for about, oh, 11 seconds.

Rock forward Kevin Fines scored off the opening faceoff and the team cruised to a 15-6 victory over the surprisingly flat Wings in front of 16,813 at the ACC.

In the thick of an intense playoff race, the Rock has picked a fine time to play its best lacrosse.

The 6-7 Rock shut down the third place Minnesota Swarm (6-5) 13-6 last weekend and now owns the East's fourth and final playoff slot over the 5-7 Wings, who take on the 10-2 Rochester Knighthawks tonight.

Though the Wings have scored fewer goals than any other East Division team, nobody could have predicted what went on in the first half last night.

Rock goalie Bob Watson stopped all 17 shots in the opening 30 minutes -- something only one other NLL goalie, Rob Blasdell of the Arizona Sting, has done this season.

Not satisfied with simply stoning Philadelphia's attackers, Watson also burned the Wings as they tried to drum up some offence in the third quarter by keeping goaltender Matt Roik on the bench for a few extra seconds on offence.

As Roik struggled in vain to get back to his net, Watson sprang Rob Marshall for a long bomb into the empty cage.

Since being benched for Mike Poulin three games ago, Watson has responded by working his way to the NLL lead in both goals against average and save percentage.

Watson said his strong play is a result of better team effort.

"We know we don't have the skill to just show up and win," he said. "We have to go out and outwork the other team."

Toronto led 11-3 after three quarters and went 7-12 on the power play, while holding Philadelphia to a solitary goal on five extra-man chances.

The Rock also succeeded in flustering Roik, who was pulled early in the second quarter with the Rock up 5-0. Though Roik later returned, he was clearly rattled by the crease-crashing Rock.

"We know that their goalie is a hothead," forward Ryan Benesch said. "Once you get under his skin, you can kind of keep pushing him."

Rock forward Aaron Wilson said his teammates knew what the stakes were coming.

"We know we've got to get by Philly if we want to make the playoffs," Wilson said. "We had to win this game and we did it."

Wilson and Josh Sanderson each tallied three goals and three assists, while Benesch led all scorers with four goals and three assists.


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