Rock looks ahead

RYAN WOLSTAT -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:49 AM ET

The Toronto Rock, once a successful National Lacrosse League team that others tried to copy, heads into the off-season trying to morph into an outfit that mimics some of the league's elite squads.

Toronto's season ended last Friday against the favoured Rochester Knighthawks.

Rookie coach Glenn Clark said he learned a lot in his first year behind the bench, including that a complete shift in style will best serve the Rock in the future.

"Initially, we tried to play a patient style," Clark said.

"But the way the game is changing and moving, teams that are having success are the ones that are pushing the tempo, being aggressive.

"This league is always a game of copy-cat and mirroring and teams have bigger, faster and more athletic guys now."

IMPRESSED

While the Rock finished with a 6-11 record including playoffs, several players impressed.

Bob Watson, the Rock's 37-year-old goalie, kept the team in contention all year with his finest showing in several seasons, finishing third in the NLL in goals-against average and second in save percentage.

Ryan Benesch led all rookies in goals and points, while Josh Sanderson finished ninth in league scoring and Aaron Wilson finished eighth in goals.

The Rock could lose players to expansion and retirement, but Clark expects 41-year-old captain Jim Veltman to stick around for at least another season.

"Jimmy is Father Time," Clark said.

"So he'll play as long as he wants to."


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